By Cal State LA News Service
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis commended bioscience entrepreneurs who graduated from the LA BioStart training program at California State University, Los Angeles, saying they will help spur economic development across the region.
During the August 16 event, Solis and Cal State LA President William A. Covino agreed to collaborate on several initiatives to promote the regional bioscience industry. The initiatives include county support for a high school summer STEM academy that the University conducts with Grifols Biologicals Inc., as well as programs to increase internships and professional development opportunities for students interested in careers in the life sciences.
Solis said she looked forward to working with Cal State LA to enrich the region.
“The biotech industry can find a home here,” she said during the graduation. “This is wonderful. The sky is the limit.”
Covino welcomed Solis and other guests who filled the University Club on campus.
“Projects like LA BioStart energize interest in biotechnology and bioscience,” Covino told the gathering. “LA BioStart fits right into the mission of Cal State LA.”
LA BioStart is an intensive five-week bioscience boot camp that provides entrepreneurs training, mentoring and business knowledge essential to starting and sustaining successful bioscience ventures. Funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the program is a collaboration between Cal State LA, the Biocom Institute and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI).
Among the guests who attended the event were Dina Lozofsky of Biocom LA; Ed Beres of LACI; Cynthia Banks, director of the Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services Department, and Wendie Johnston from the Pasadena Bio Collaborative Incubator.
The LA BioStart training is offered at no cost and led by top industry experts, who focus on critical areas such as business fundamentals, financing models, industrial research and development, regulatory affairs, leadership skills and communication strategies.
LA BioStart’s inaugural class included Cal State LA Professor Xin Wen, who is developing antifreeze polypeptides as a preservative for temperature sensitive protein-based therapeutics for consumer products. Cal State LA students Rebecca Vargas and Tania Garcia were members of Wen’s team.
“It is gratifying to see that the boot camp participants greatly benefitted from our programming and have already forged a strong life-long friendship,” said Howard Xu, who is the director of LA BioStart and a professor of microbiology at Cal State LA. “We look forward to witnessing bioscience commercial products being launched by these entrepreneurs in coming years.”
Cal State LA alumnus John Chi, founder and CEO of Synova Life Sciences in Alhambra, also participated in the training. Chi is commercializing a medical device to harvest stem cells from adipose tissues for use as a regenerative therapy for joints.
“The program exceeded all my expectations,” Chi said, adding that the mentors and instructors shared valuable real-world business knowledge. “They all had so much depth.”
Cal State LA Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez said the LA BioStart participants are pioneers in the development of “Bioscience Valley,” which extends along Valley Boulevard and includes Cal State LA and Grifols Biologicals Inc. on the east, and the University of Southern California Health Sciences campus on the west.
“The fellows of LA BioStart are the future of the bioscience industry,” said Gomez, who also chairs LA BioSpace, the university’s bioscience incubator. “Their ideas and discoveries will transform our region and enhance the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship at Cal State LA.”
Photos: Above, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis congratulates LA BioStart fellows. Second from the top, Cynthia D. Banks, director of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services, Supervisor Solis and Cal State LA President William A. Covino agree to collaborate on bioscience initiatives. Bottom, front left to right, Professor Howard Xu, LA BioStart director, and Cal State LA students Rebecca Vargas and Tania Garcia. Back left to right, John Chi, CEO of Synova Life Sciences, Cal State LA Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez and Professor Xin Wen. (Credit: Gareth Mackay/Cal State LA)
# # #
California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.
Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.