Posted by: Audrey Erbes | March 11, 2012

CALBIO 2012 World Class Meeting plus Upcoming Events & Jobs

CALBIO 2012 Comments

The appearance of Governor Jerry Brown at CALBIO 2012 speaking to the approximate 1,000 attendees at the Plenary Luncheon on Friday really “sealed the deal” on the high caliber of programs for the plenary as well as meeting panels, the participants and attendees at the CALBIO 2012. It was an amazing achievement by the host organization BayBio with its small staff expanded by selected volunteers to implement a gathering of this size and complexity.

Other luminaries included San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; Former FDA Commissioner and President, Samaritan Health Initiatives, Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.; California Assemblyman Jerry Hill, President and CEO of BIO James C. Greenwood, and U.S. Congressman Brian Bilbray of San Diego. Panel participants and attendees came from all over the West Coast, giving the meeting the feel of a national meeting. The participation of politicians and former politicians went without any partisanship marring the program focus with exception of Congressman Brian Bilbray’s remarks when he slipped into some anti-Democratic rhetoric and out-of-line comment about Congresswoman Pelosi, the Minority Leader from San Francisco.  A member of the audience when addressing him subsequently with question from the floor noted in his self-introduction that he was a moderate Democrat from San Francisco and wasn’t afraid of Nancy Pelosi.  This remark shut down the partisanship. (Being interviewed by a former Congressman, also a Republican, may have caused Bilbray to forget he wasn’t addressing a San Diego audience.)

The quality of the program/panels planned by both BayBio and new partner BIOCOM in this first joint annual meeting of the two organizations builds on the outstanding BayBio annual meeting held last year under the leadership of the BayBio CEO Gail Maderis then as well as this year. It’s been refreshing to have a person of Gail’s professional achievements as industry executive and former CEO of a San Francisco Bay Area Cluster biotech company in this critical position to look out for the interests of life science companies and their workforce, not just in the Bay Area but in all the state of California. Her leadership and passion for moving the industry forward in overcoming the obstacles it faces contributes a lot to the camaraderie and support coming from the Bay Area for advancing the organization’s programs. (If you aren’t familiar with her work, you can hear her comments made in Elsevier webinar regarding the status of the biomedical industry in California. )

The conference program was entitled “Driven by Patients.” It was a strong focus appearing under the program track “Patients” and emphasized during the plenary meal sessions but was a secondary focus in general to discussions of business issues confronting the industry—the predominant theme of the other panel sessions. Attendees heard from patient advocate group leaders espousing the need to bring the patient into the regulatory process, especially, making a strong case for finding a way to provide the dying access to drugs not yet approved.

One had to choose which sessions to attend from among the competing tracks. I attended sessions predominantly from the “Capital Access,” “Business Models,” and “Patients” tracks and found them all to be excellent. I’ve attended a lot of programs on financing in the past 18 months and I can say those at CALBIO were extraordinary. Panelists dove deeply from their experience and knowledge to offer new insights going forward. Other tracks I was unable to attend included “Clinical Development,” “Markets,” “Drug Discovery,” “Regulatory” and Foundation Presentations.

Coming Week’s Event Highlights

Highlights for Audrey’s Picks for the coming week appear below. Right click on highlighted Audrey’s Picks and download list with details of these as well as other events through June.

  • BioCentury TV Today, See new program Webcast Sunday, March 11, 2012, Continuously available starting at 9:00 a.m. EDT; Topic: Venture Philanthropy: the Kalydeco Story; Speakers: Dr. Robert Beall, President and CEO of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Dr. Eric Olson, Head, Vertex’s CF Drug Development Program
  • Palo Alto AWIS Chapter Meeting, Monday Evening, March 12, 2012; Topic: “Career Path and Leadership in Biotechnology;” Speaker: Ann Lee-Karlon, Ph.D., Vice President of Portfolio Management and Operations at Genentech
  • Bio-X, Saturday-Sunday, March 12-13, 2012; Topic: “Revolution Transcending the Past;” Speakers: Martin Ackermann, Environmental Sciences, ETH Zurich; Jerome Bibette, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielles, Paris; Scott Boyd, Pathology, Stanford; Carlos Bustamante, Genetics, Stanford; Michael Desai, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard; Karla Kirkegaard, Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford; Richard Lenski,Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State; Carlo Maley, Center for Evolution and Cancer, UCSF
  • GGPF, Tuesday Evening March 13, 2012; Topic: “Polymorphism in Poly(L-lactide) and Physical Property Ramifications;” Speaker: Prof. Shaw Ling Hsu, Polymer Science & Engineering, U. of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, March 13, 2012; Topic: “Reducing Maternal and Infant Mortality with a Solar Suitcase: The Power to Save Lives;” Speakers: Laura Stachel, MD, MPH & Hal Aronson, PhD, Co-Founders, Medical and Technology Directors, WE CARE Solar
  • Deloitte Recap Webinar, Tuesday Morning, March 13, 2012; Webinar Topic: 2011 Life Sciences Partnering Trends Year-in-Review; Presenters: Eric Walczykowski, Jennifer Doyle, Chris Dokomajilar and Jacquelyn Cafasso of Deloitte Recap
  • Bio Design, Wednesday Evening, March 14, 2012; Topic: “From the Innovator’s Workbench;” Speaker: Alex Gorsky, Worldwide Chairman of Medical Devices & Diagnostics Group and Vice Chairman of Executive Committee, Johnson & Johnson
  • San Jose Biocenter, Thursday Afternoon, March 15, 2012; Topic: “Who is Catalyzing Life Science Startups? New Opportunities for Funding;” Panelists: Wende Hutton, General Partner, Canaan Partners; Craig Muir, Partner, Third Rock Ventures; Jeff Calcagno, Senior Director, Emerging Technologies, Corporate Office of Science & Technology (COSAT), Johnson & Johnson; James Topper, General Partner, Frazier Healthcare; Lead Facilitator: Scott M. Iyama, Corporate Senior Associate, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • CABS Science Workshop, Saturday, March 17, 2012; Topic: “Convergence of Drugs and Medical Devices”
  • San Francisco AWIS, Saturday, March 17, 2012; Topic: “Balancing Your Life and Work;” Speaker: Mara Jeffres, PhD

Jobs That Crossed My Desk

You will find the most current list of Jobs That Crossed My Desk by right clicking on the highlighted name. These are positions sent to me by recruiters and members of my network. I do not receive any compensation for listing these positions.


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