Posted by: Audrey Erbes | March 9, 2015

BayBio Merges with CHI Plus Events and Jobs

Bay Bio in conjunction with BioCom once again provided an interesting and relevant program as part of CalBio 2015 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in San Francisco on Monday-Tuesday, March 2-3, 2015. The panels covered the topics about the changes in funding of biotech companies and once again found early state startups were struggling to find funding as VC funding has for the most part left this area of financing the industry. They had panels covering the collaborations that have become such a large part of the landscape and the new build-to-sell drug deals that provide new route to survive for early stage start ups.

I wondered why the attendance was down versus the last BayBio Annual Meeting four years ago with 900 attendees and this year with only 750 despite representing the entire state of California this year. I don’t have details as to levels of attendees but felt that there were far fewer CEOs and founders in attendance at this meeting. I wonder if the new funding principally via M&A with the liquidation of the company staff and send off of the leadership with non-competes might be playing a role in the seeming loss of leadership in attendance. I missed the excitement of earlier meetings when top management participated in more panels and shared their progress and secret sauce.

I was disappointed to hear that Gail Maderis will be leaving BayBio as the organization she led is merged with the California Health Institute (CHI). The new entity will be named the California Biomedical Innovation Alliance, or CBI for short. The merger is expected to close imminently. Sara Radcliff will be the first president and CEO of the new entity. Her most recent position was executive VP of the Washington, D.C.-based Biotechnology Industry Organization. BioCom chose not to join in the new entity.

We will miss Gail Maderis and her high energy for biotech company founding and growth as well as special interest in promoting STEM education in California. Ms. Radcliffe is known as “policy wonk.” Only time will tell how that leadership will fare. In the early days of the Bay Area company group, the organization suffered under the leadership of a policy wonk from state government who had no industry understanding. A subsequent president recruited from the Washington, DC area to replace departing president moved the focus of the group to that of political group with lots of fanfare but seemed to forget what was best for organizations and working professionals in a very distinctive biotech cluster. Ms. Maderis was a refreshing change as someone who understood companies and their needs and is sensitive to the needs of maintaining a vibrant workforce.

The fate of the current staff of BayBio is not known. Radcliffe will determine the roles and responsibilities of the combined staffs. Hopefully, she will maintain staff who understand our industry vs. Gail’s predecessor who recruited lobbyists who lacked understanding.

Highlights of Upcoming Life Science Meetings This Coming Week

  • WIB, Monday Evening, March 9, 2015, Event: “WIB-San Francisco Bay Area Presents: Celebrate Women’s History Month with Women Leaders Building the Future of Biotech;” Panelists: Nathalie Stringfellow (Sangamo), Eileen deFeo (Verinata Health/Illumina), Ashley Dombkowski (Bay City Capital), and moderator Gail Maderis (BayBio); Dinner Speaker: Karen Bernstein (BioCentury)
  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, March 10, 2015; Topic: “Active Investors and Exits in Venture Healthcare,” Speaker: Jonathan Norris, Managing Director for SVB’s Healthcare Practice
  • Biotech Bay Career Faire, Wednesday Afternoon, March 11, 2015

You can download Audreys Picks March 9, 2015 with complete details on the above and other meetings and conferences through May 2015 by right clicking on the highlighted titles. Also see JobsThatCrossedMyDeskThrough March 9, 2015 for your information. I list mostly jobs in California posted in the last three weeks but you can also find national listings at the websites mentioned.

Audrey

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