Aiming to boost their expertise in the business of biotechnology and help their countries grow a strong biotech economy, more than 20 Asian scientists, biotech executives and investors are spending this week in a special course at UCSF Mission Bay.
Bay Area biotech industry leaders are helping the Asian group gauge business opportunities in their part of the world during the week-long course.
The course is funded by the biotechnology arm of the Malaysian government, known as the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation. QB3 hosts the event, and it is organized by David Charron, a professor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.
The Global Bio-Entrepreneurship Course brings together more than 20 Malaysians, as well as participants from China and Vietnam. They are joined by several postdoctoral scholars and graduate students form QB3.
The focus of the course is "emerging economies" - those that don't yet have an existing biotechnology infrastructure like the Bay Area, says P'ng Loke, director of the program at QB3 and an assistant research immunologist in the UCSF Division of Experimental Medicine.
"We aim to help create successful biotechnology companies in these emerging economies," Loke says, "and this requires education for the entrepreneurs as well as the investors.
"The attendees cover a tremendous range, from CEOs of established mid-sized biotech companies in these countries, to academics, and investment fund mangers."
The innovative program should help realize the vision for QB3 executive director Reg Kelly.
"We want QB3 to act as a partner to help emerging economies experience the same successes that the U.S. has enjoyed over the last 20 years," Kelly says.
"Ultimately, it will be the people that will make the course a success. We hope that the participants will establish lasting relationships with each other and share their knowledge and experiences while establishing key international networks for the future."
The presenters include leaders of Burrill & Company, a leading life sciences investment bank, who are providing a global overview of the industry. Leaders from Genentech, Fenwik & West LLP, and a dozen other biotech companies and investors are also speaking.
The bio-entrepreneurship course is the third part of an ambitious program sponsored by QB3 and funded by the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation. The first two elements support research-based training and collaboration, allowing Malaysian students, postdocs and visiting faculty to come to QB3 and work alongside UCSF research colleagues.
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California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3)