Connect to Honor Four Illustrious Leaders at Annual Awards

Sep 16, 2019

Awards celebrate luminaries who have supported the San Diego innovation ecosystem

SAN DIEGO (Sept. 16, 2019) – Connect w/ San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) announced today that it will honor four distinguished recipients with awards at their annual Innovation Awards event in December.

Connect w/ SDVG has selected David Hale, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Hale Biopharma Ventures, for its highest honor – induction into the Connect Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Hale is being honored for his lifelong commitment to the San Diego life sciences and biotech communities, his support of innovation in San Diego, as a founder of BIOCOM and as an original co-founder and former board chairman of Connect.

“David Hale’s leadership has been consistent over many years. His commitment to our region, and the young entrepreneurs here, has played an integral role in the development of San Diego as a life sciences and biotech powerhouse,” said Connect w/ SDVG CEO Mike Krenn. “As an entrepreneur, an executive, and a philanthropist, David has demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering innovation across San Diego. And he’s not done yet!”

Connect is bringing together the Most Innovative New Product Awards and the Hall of Fame Awards into one night. The Innovation Awards honor the titans of innovation, while celebrating the newest advancements in technology and life sciences, in one evening.

This year’s Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductee, David Hale, is an experienced biotech and life sciences executive; he previously served as president of Hybritech, Inc., San Diego’s first biotechnology company, which was eventually acquired by Eli Lilly & Co. Hale also served as chairman, president, and CEO of Gensia, Inc., was a co-founder and chairman of Viagene, Inc., chairman and CEO of Cancervax, and chairman of Micromet, Santarus, Neurelis and SkinMedica. He currently serves as chairman of Oncternal Therapeutics, Neurana Pharmaceuticals, and many others.

A member of the board of trustees for Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego since 1996, Hale was named chairman of the board in 2011 and continues to be an active board member. He was a co-founder and fervent supporter of the creation of the Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, when it was founded in 2014. The Institute is one of the leading pediatric genomics centers globally, and Hale currently serves as its board chairman.

Hale is the eighteenth inductee into the Connect Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Past inductees include Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, Illumina’s Jay Flatley, Dr. Magda Marquet and Dr. Francois Ferre of Althea Technologies, and last year’s inductee, ViaSat founder and CEO Mark Dankberg.

Connect will also honor Taner Halicioglu and Dr. Carol Gallagher with Duane Roth Distinguished Contribution Awards (DCA) and Dr. Mary Walshok with the William W. Otterson Award for Advancing Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

“Our Distinguished Contribution Award, named for beloved Connect CEO Duane Roth, highlights exceptional achievement in technology and life sciences. We look forward to honoring Dr. Carol Gallagher and Taner Halicioglu with our 2019 awards as they have both made invaluable contributions to the fields of life sciences and technology, respectively, and generously give their time and treasure to our overall San Diego ecosystem,” Connect w/ SDVG President and COO Dr. Silvia Mah said.

Dr. Gallagher will receive the Duane Roth DCA for Life Sciences, honoring her many contributions to the industry. A veteran in commercial, drug development, and business development roles, Dr. Gallagher started her career in commercial roles at Eli Lilly and Amgen.  She joined Agouron Pharmaceuticals in San Diego in 1997 and stayed through the Warner Lambert and Pfizer acquisitions. She was the Rituxan team leader at Idec Pharmaceuticals and had senior roles at CancerVax and Anadys Pharmaceuticals. In 2008, she became president and CEO of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals in Seattle where she led the company’s sale to Gilead Sciences in 2011 for a total consideration of $600 million. She returned to San Diego in 2012 and served as a director at AnaptysBio, Aragon Pharmaceuticals, eFFECTOR Therapeutics, and Seragon Pharmaceuticals. Currently, Dr. Gallagher is a partner with New Enterprise Associates.  She serves as a director on a number of boards including San Diego-based companies Qpex Biopharma, Turning Point Therapeutics, Metacrine, and Chromacode. She also serves as a board member on the Sharp Healthcare Board.

As Facebook’s first full-time employee, Halicioglu has been at the forefront of our most recent technological revolution. Connect will honor Halicioglu’s leadership and contributions to innovation with the Duane Roth DCA for Technology. Halicioglu’s $75 million donation to UC San Diego in 2017 to create the Halicioglu Data Science Institute has helped the campus become a national leader in data science, a specialty that is increasingly sought after across industries. Halicioglu is currently a lecturer in computer science at UCSD, a member of the university’s alumni board of directors, and he is founder of Keshif Ventures as well as a co-founder of SEED San Diego.

“We are thrilled at the renewed awarding of the William W. Otterson Award,” says Eric Otterson, co-vice chair of the Connect board of directors and managing director at Silicon Valley Bank. “Connect is the cornerstone of San Diego’s entrepreneurial community and Dr. Mary Walshok has been essential to its growth and relevance. Her support and vision of the importance an organization like Connect provides to the region is the foundation of our success.”

Part of Connect’s founding team, Dr. Walshok will receive the William W. Otterson Award for Advancing Entrepreneurship and Innovation, named in honor of the organization’s first CEO, William Otterson. Dr. Walshok is the associate vice chancellor for public programs and dean of Extension at UCSD, and a subject matter expert on aligning workforce development with regional economic growth. She has authored and co-authored numerous book chapters and articles on the world of work, including “Invention & Reinvention: The Evolution of San Diego’s Innovation Economy” (2014) which details the establishment of Connect. Dr. Walshok’s research and thought leadership have helped to stimulate the development of innovation economies around the world.

A dinner honoring Hale, Halicioglu, Dr. Gallagher, and Dr. Walshok will be held on December 5, 2019 in conjunction with Connect’s 32nd annual Innovation Awards at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. In addition to recognizing these outstanding individuals, Connect w/ SDVG will also be honoring innovation and groundbreaking new products from companies across the San Diego region. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit

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About Connect w/ San Diego Venture Group

For more than 30 years, both Connect and San Diego Venture Group have focused on supporting and elevating entrepreneurs in the San Diego region. Combining the deep histories and wide successes of each organization creates a powerhouse of resources such as mentorship, education, and capital for innovators. Connect w/ San Diego Venture Group serves entrepreneurs and startups throughout their growth journey, from early stage to capital raise, with a suite of curated programs and events aimed to help companies grow, gain access to capital, and scale.