The Business of Science

Written by 
Kristen Cusato
Poster Presentation

Bringing life sciences and investors together is a primary goal of the first San Diego Innovation Showcase, held Thursday, October 26th at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines. Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP), among other local institutions, presented some of its top scientists and spin off companies at the all-day event. The Innovation Showcase is sponsored by the newly formed San Diego Innovation Council whose mission is to promote growth through innovation, entrepreneurial activities and education.

SBP was well represented at the event, with principals from five spin-off companies presenting their successes. SBP’s Nick Cosford, Ph.D., and Aman Mann, Ph.D., shared news about their companies, and Vice President of Business Development Lee Blumenfeld, M.D., and Director of Business Development Scott McNinch, came to network.

“SBP is here to present a number of start-up companies to investors,” said McNinch. “Many investors here are interested in innnovative science that lead to spin-outs.”

“For us, it’s about getting exposure and making our presence known,” said Mann, who works in the lab of Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., a distinguished professor at SBP. “It’s valuable to meet other entrepreneurs and learn from each other about best practices and licensing, for example.”

In this climate, scientists interested in partnering or spinning off a company have to become business savvy.

McNinch says, “We talk about translational research ultimately benefiting patients. One way is to transition promising research into companies that will turn out a product or service that will help patients.”

The event featured leaders and entrepreneurs from the therapeutics/diagnostics, software/electronics and materials/engineering fields. Other organizations that participated included UC San Diego, Salk and University of San Diego.