Click on the ROCK STAR to read their bio
Headlining Keynote Speakers
CEO, 3D Robotics, Inc.
Former Editor-in-Chief, Wired
Author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution; Free: The Future of a Radical Price and The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business is Selling Less of More
Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
Recipient of the 2013 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
Recipient of the 2012 Innovation Award in Bioscience presented by The Economist
Rock Star Speakers
Chairman of the Department of Chemical Physiology, The Scripps Research Institute
Investment Professional, Versant Ventures, Inc.
Partner, HLM Venture Partners
Head of Strategic Research Partnerships, Pfizer, Inc.
Co-Founder and CEO, Upstart Network, Inc.
Vice President, Development – Partner, Flagship VentureLabs
Partner, Domain Associates, L.L.C.
Director, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
CEO, Molecular Response, LLC
Partner, Morgenthaler Ventures
Founder and CEO, Inception Sciences, Inc.
President and COO, Life Technologies Corporation
Managing Member, Psilos Group
Vice President and General Manager, Qualcomm Life, Inc.
Chris Anderson is the CEO of 3D Robotics and founder of DIY Drones. From 2001 through 2012 he was the Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine. Before Wired he was with The Economist for seven years in London, Hong Kong and New York in various positions, ranging from Technology Editor to US Business Editor. Anderson is the author of the New York Times bestselling books The Long Tail and Free as well as the new Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. In 2007 he was named to “Time 100,” the news magazine’s list of the 100 most influential men and women in the world. Anderson founded GeekDad, BookTour, a few other companies now lost in the mists of time. His background is in science, starting with studying physics and doing research at Los Alamos and culminating in six years at the two leading scientific journals, Nature and Science.
Dr. Cravatt is a Professor in the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and Chair of the Department of Chemical Physiology at The Scripps Research Institute. His research group is interested in understanding the roles that enzymes play in physiological and pathological processes, especially as pertains to the nervous system and cancer. To address this challenge, they develop and apply an array of genetic, pharmacological, and proteomic/metabolomic technologies. The Cravatt group has obtained fundamental insights into the chemical, biochemical, and physiological workings of several important mammalian serine hydrolases, including enzymes involved in the neurobiology of pain and cancer metabolism and malignancy. Dr. Cravatt obtained his undergraduate education at Stanford University, receiving a B.S. in the Biological Sciences and a B.A. in History. He then trained with Drs. Dale Boger and Richard Lerner and received a Ph.D. in Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in 1996. Professor Cravatt joined the faculty at TSRI in 1997 as a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology and the departments of Cell Biology and Chemistry. Dr. Cravatt is a co-founder and scientific advisor of Activx Biosciences. His honors include a Searle Scholar Award (1998-2001), the Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry (2004), a Cope Scholar Award (2005), the Irving Sigal Young Investigator Award (2007), the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry (2008), and a MERIT award from the National Cancer Institute (2009).
Jerel Davis has over a decade of experience in the life science sector. He is currently an Operating Principal at Versant Ventures where he leads investment decisions for life science start-ups. He also plays a business development role with Inception Sciences, executing partnerships with global pharmaceutical companies. Jerel joined Versant from McKinsey & Company where he was an Associate Partner advising pharmaceutical, medical device, and molecular diagnostics companies. He has worked in a number of healthcare markets including the US, Europe, China, Russia, and India. Jerel was previously a researcher at Amgen and received his PhD from Stanford University in Genomics and Population Genetics where he also completed a post-doctoral fellowship.
Martin R. Felsenthal is a Partner of HLM Venture Partners. Since 1992, he has been focused exclusively on working with emerging growth health care services and health care information technology companies. He is currently a director of Teladoc and Vericare. He previously was a director of Aperio, US Renal Care, Vantage Oncology,and Payerpath. As an investor, Marty has recruited more than 35 executives to the portfolio companies with whom he worked. In addition to his responsibilities at HLM, Marty also serves on the Board of the Northern California Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He received a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Dr. Ferrara obtained his M.D. degree in 1981 from the University of Catania Medical School in Italy. After completing his postdoctoral research at the University of California at San Francisco, he joined Genentech Inc. in 1988. He spent nearly 25 years with the organization where his work on the isolation, molecular cloning and biological characterization of VEGF-A resulted in the development of bevacizumab, the first anti-angiogenic agent to be approved by the FDA for cancer therapy. His research there also led to the development of ranibizumab, which has been FDA-approved for the treatment of multiple intraocular neovascular disorders. In December 2012, Dr. Ferrara joined the University of California, San Diego as a Distinguished Professor of Pathology and Senior Deputy Director for Basic Sciences of the Moores Cancer Center. He plans to continue his research focusing on the biology of angiogenesis and the identification of its regulators. Dr. Ferrara has authored over 300 scientific publications, which have been cited over 70,000 times. He is also the recipient of numerous scientific awards including the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences recently awarded in February, 2013. Other awards include the American-Italian Cancer Foundation Prize, the AACR Cain Memorial Award, the Lefoulon-Delalande-Institut de France Prize, the Passano Award, the General Motors Cancer Research Award, the ASCO Science of Oncology Award, the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, the Macula Society Arnall Patz Award, the Lasker-deBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the Janssen Award for Biomedical Research and the Economist Innovation Award. Dr. Ferrara has been an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA since 2006.
Melissa M. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. is the Head of Strategic Research Partnerships-San Diego for Pfizers’ External Research & Development Innovation (ERDI) group. In this role, Melissa leads scouting efforts in the Southwest region of North America, and helps expand and manage partnerships with key academic institutes and start-up companies in areas of scientific interest to Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development and the Pfizer Emerging Science Fund.
Melissa brings to ERDI’s Strategic Research Partnerships team her enthusiasm for promoting innovation, gained through fifteen years of research and corporate development experience in the San Diego Life Sciences eco-system. Following her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University, Melissa was a post-doc in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. She then held positions of increasing responsibility at Dura Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Elan Pharmaceuticals), DermTech International, and UC San Diego’s Technology Transfer office. From 2004-2008, Melissa was an Associate Director-Business Development at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, where she led the search and evaluation team for early stage technologies, and completed a number of acquisitions, licenses and collaboration agreements. In 2009, Melissa returned to UC San Diego to help found and launch UC San Diego’s new Institute for Genomic Medicine, and then moved to the UCSD Technology Transfer Office for a second term prior to joining Pfizer in 2011.
Dave Girouard is co-founder and CEO of Upstart, a crowdfunding platform that lets recent college grads raise capital in exchange for a small share of their future income. Previously, Dave was President of Google Enterprise and VP of Apps. He built Google’s cloud apps business worldwide, including product development, sales, marketing, and customer support.
Avak Kahvejian joined Flagship Ventures in 2011 as a Partner in VentureLabsTM, bringing nearly 7 years of operational experience in the biomedical tools space. Prior to Flagship, Avak was at Helicos BioSciences, a Flagship VentureLabsTMcompany which developed and commercialized the world’s first single molecule sequencing technology. At Helicos since 2004, Avak held various business development, product management, marketing and sales roles. Most recently, as Vice President, Business Development for Helicos, he focused on establishing strategic partnerships in the areas of high-throughput sequencing and molecular diagnostics, leveraging the technology’s unique capabilities.
Avak earned his PhD from McGill University in the laboratory of Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, where his research focused on modulators of mRNA translation and their regulation. During his studies at McGill, Avak was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research operating grant as a co-investigator to Dr. Sonenberg, and was selected for the Dean’s Honour List upon graduation.
Dr Kamdar is a Partner at Domain Associates, a Healthcare focused Venture Capital Firm. With a background in small molecule drug discovery, Dr. Kamdar has been involved in cutting edge therapeutic start-ups and has been a major part of identifying companies with promising molecular and companion diagnostics to support personalized medicine.
Present board memberships include Ariosa Diagnostics, Epic Sciences, Lithera, Obalon Therapeutics, ROX Medical, Sera Prognostics, Sonexa Therapeutics, Syndax Pharmaceuticals, and Tragara Pharmaceuticals, as well as observer status at Achaogen and aTyr Pharma. Dr. Kamdar was involved with Corthera until the Company was sold to Novartis in February 2010 and BiPar Sciences until the company was sold to sanofi-aventis in April 2009.
Prior to Domain, Kim was a Kauffman Fellow with MPM Capital. Prior to joining MPM, she was a research director at Novartis, where she built and led a research team that focused on the biology, genetics and genomics of model organisms to uncover small molecules that modulated signaling pathway networks. Kim is a founder of Aryzun Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company utilizing protein-protein interaction mapping for small molecule discovery with an initial focus on anti-infectives and oncology. Kim is the author of ten papers as well as the inventor on seven patents. She received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and genetics from Emory University.
Kim serves as an advisory board member of Eric Topol’s NIH supported Clinical and Translational Science Award for Scripps Medicine and of Evolvence India Life Sciences Fund, a private equity fund providing growth capital to Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. She is also a board member of San Diego’s CONNECT Foundation and the Hastings Center.
Scott M. Lippman, MD, joined Moores Cancer Center in May 2012. He is a professor of medicine at UC San Diego and holds the Chugai Pharmaceutical Chair in Cancer. Previously, he was chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at The University of Texas (UT) MD Anderson Cancer Center. Lippman brings more than 25 years of experience as principal investigator of translational research involving investigator-initiated clinical trials. He has participated in the national leadership of clinical/translational research planning and development within the NCI Cooperative Group setting and currently sits on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Trials/Translational Research Advisory Committee. He has served on several cancer center external advisory boards and major-trial steering committees, and has played a leadership role in major AACR and American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) committees and programs.
Lippman graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, did his internship and residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and had hematology/medical oncology training at Stanford University and the University of Arizona. He is triple board-certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology.
Author of more than 300 publications in high-impact journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, PNAS, and The Lancet, and chapters in major medical textbooks, Lippman has received many awards, among them the ASCO-American Cancer Society Award, AACR Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation Award, and the ASCO Statesman Award, and he is an elected member of the prestigious Association of American Physicians.
Cyrus K. Mirsaidi is the Chief Executive Officer of Molecular Response with 20 years of senior management experience in strategic planning, business development, and licensing. Mr. Mirsaidi brings both practical and strategic senior management experience in drug discovery, biomarker development, and clinical diagnostics and has proven himself a capable leader who can build and motivate teams to achieve great results. He held several senior level management positions in his ten-year career at Nichols Institute Diagnostics (a division of Quest Diagnostics), where he was responsible for global launch of clinical diagnostic IVD tests on automated platforms and development of new strategies for application of routine immunoassay tests to more profitable ‘Point of Care’ markets. As general manager and executive director at Ontogen, a small molecule discovery company, he managed operations of a subsidiary focused on high throughput synthesis and purification of novel compounds. Most recently, Mr. Mirsaidi served as Vice President at AltheaDx, a San Diego biotechnology company, where he led the business development and licensing efforts with pharmaceutical partners. Mr. Mirsaidi received a B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Irvine. He currently resides in San Diego.
Gary, based in Menlo Park, CA, joined Morgenthaler as a Partner in December 1989. He has a national reputation as a successful executive in the software industry and currently emphasizes investments in information technology. He was a past Director of Siri, Inc., which was acquired by Apple in April 2010 and BlueArc Corporation which was acquired by Hitachi Data Systems in September 2011. Gary is a current Director of Nominum, NuoDB, OneChip Photonics, Orb Networks, Inc. and Overture Networks. Gary was also a co-founder and past CEO of Illustra Information Technologies, Inc., where he served as a Chairman of Illustra’s Board until its acquisition by Informix in 1996. He also served as Director of Catena Networks (acquired by Ciena (CIEN), Nuance Communications, and Premisys Communications and led the firm’s investments in Force10 Networks and QuickLogic. From 1980 until 1989, Gary co-founded and served as CEO and Chairman of Ingres Corporation, a leading relational database software company. Previously he was with McKinsey & Co. as a management consultant, with Tymshare in software development and management, and with Stanford University in software research and development. He received a BA from Harvard in 1970.
Peppi Prasit has more than 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and management. He is a founder of Inception Sciences, a small molecule drug discovery company. Prior to Inception Sciences, Peppi was co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Amira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and early development of new small molecule drugs and chosen as one of the most promising biotech companies in 2010 by FierceBiotech. Amira successfully created five candidates entering clinical trials within five years from company inception. Included in these programs is AM152, a first-in-class LPA1 receptor antagonist recently selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the five most promising drugs in Phase 1 clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry (“Pharma Matters: The Ones To Watch”, Oct-Dec 2010). AM152 and the fibrosis program were acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb for $325 million in cash up front, plus additional milestone payments of $150 million. Peppi received his undergraduate degree from University College London in the UK, Ph.D. from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and served as a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University.
Mark P. Stevenson serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of Life Technologies. In this role, he oversees the company’s global operations including the company’s three technology divisions, R&D, manufacturing and commercial activities. Previously, Mr. Stevenson served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Applied Biosystems, which merged with Invitrogen Corporation in November 2008 to form Life Technologies. He joined Applied Biosystems in Europe in 1998, and held roles of increasing responsibility in Europe and Japan. He moved to the U.S. in 2004 to establish Applied Biosystems’ Applied Markets Division and in 2006 was named President of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Division. Mr. Stevenson holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Reading, UK, and an M.B.A. from Henley Management School, UK. He is also a member of the board of trustees for the Keck Graduate institute and an Executive Committee Board Member of BIOCOM, a life science association representing approximately 550 member companies in Southern California.
Lisa Suennen is a co-founder and Managing Member of Psilos Group, a healthcare-focused venture capital firm with over $577 million under management. Ms Suennen has headed Psilos’ West Coast office since the firm’s founding in 1998 and focuses on the medical device, healthcare information technology and healthcare services sectors. She serves as a Director on the Board of several Psilos portfolio companies, including AngioScore, PatientSafe Solutions, and OmniGuide. Prior to Psilos, Ms. Suennen was at Merit Behavioral Care (formerly American Biodyne, Inc), where she held various senior executive roles including Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Senior Vice President/General Manager of the Public Sector Division (a $300 million business unit) and Senior Vice President of Pacific Region Operations. Previously, Ms. Suennen served as Worldwide Product Manager for INGRES/Relational Technology, Inc., a relational database company, where she had responsibility for development, marketing and distribution of the company’s UNIX PC software product. Prior to INGRES, Ms. Suennen served as Director of U.S. Market Development and as Manager, U.S. Government and Industry Relations for X/Open, an international computer industry standards setting and lobbying consortium. Earlier, Ms. Suennen spent several years at Regis McKenna, Inc., an international high technology marketing and public relations firm, responsible for government relations and public relations strategy for client companies in the software and healthcare areas. Ms. Suennen also writes a widely read blog on healthcare and healthcare investing at www.venturevalkyrie.com.
Rick has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial innovation and executive leadership experience in rapid-growth, technology-enabled services organizations along with a proven track record in market disruption, strategy execution and value creation. As the founder and leader of Qualcomm Life, he directs Qualcomm’s product and technology strategy in the wireless health market. He also has a hand in driving wireless health innovation outside the company through Qualcomm Life’s strategic partnerships with entities such as Rock Health, Wireless-Life Science Alliance and the USC Center for Body Computing and through oversight of the $100 million Qualcomm Life Fund. Rick is an active member of ACHE, HIMSS and mHIMSS.
Earlier in Rick’s career, as founder and CEO of ProfitLine, he cultivated his business savvy building the company from a one-man consulting firm into a $35 million enterprise that is now the West Coast arm of Tangoe Inc. (TNGO). During Rick’s tenure, ProfitLine was one of Inc. 500’s fastest growing companies in America for three years and on Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 50 companies four years in a row. Rick was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2003. Rick is a native San Diegan and committed to the community. He uses his business building know-how to help fellow entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring technology companies as a mentor at the Founder Institute and a member of the Executive Committee of the San Diego MIT Enterprise Forum. He is a former chairman and long-time board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County and actively supports Rady Children’s Hospital and the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center at UCSD.