"Walking The Tightrope": UCSF symposium explores how to balance business, academic pursuits

By Wallace Ravven

UCSF faculty and other academic scientists who are also entrepreneurs or consultants to industry will share their experiences, while an expert on conflict of interest will discuss how to avoid potential pitfalls at UCSF’s third annual BioEntrepreneurship Symposium.

The event, titled “Walking the Tightrope: Balancing Your Academic and Business Interests,” runs from 1 to 6 pm, Wednesday, June 25, at the UCSF Millberry Union Conference Center, 500 Parnassus Avenue, on the UCSF campus. A reception will follow the program.
The symposium is open to the public and is expected to draw about 150 people - about half of them UCSF faculty. UC faculty and scientists enter free with ID; UCSF alumni pay $20; and all others, $30.

This is the first time a group of successful UCSF entrepreneurs and consultants has convened to tell their stories to their peers.
“This program provides a unique open forum for UCSF scientists to learn from their own peers’ successful experiences in bringing inventions and knowledge to the marketplace,” said Reg Kelly, PhD, UCSF executive vice chancellor for research, whose office is co-sponsoring the event.

The symposium’s panel of “academic entrepreneurs” includes Corey Goodman, PhD, CEO and founder of Renovis, founder of Exelixis and former HHMI professor at UC Berkeley, and three UCSF professors who are also entrepreneurs: Mike McGrath, PhD, founder of Sequential Biomedical (now SLIL); Michael Merzenich, PhD, founder of Scientific Learning Corp. and Neuroscience Solutions Corp.; and Stephen S. Rothman, PhD, founder of Genteric, Inc.

Lisa Bero, PhD, UCSF professor of clinical pharmacy, a scholar in areas of conflict of interest and chair of the Conflict of Interest Advisory Committee at UCSF, will present a lecture, “Balancing Industry Interactions with the Missions of Academic Research.”

A second panel will present academics who serve as industry consultants, speaking about their roles on company advisory boards and doing due diligence for venture capital firms. They will share what these opportunities have brought to their labs and how they have managed any potential conflict of interest. 

The afternoon symposium is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, UC Discovery Grants and the UCSF Office of Research. Hosts are the UCSF Center for BioEntrepreneurship and the Office of Technology Management, in the UCSF Office of Research, and the UCSF Career Center.

Pre-registration is not required, but space is limited. To pre-register, or for more information: