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Biocom Names Winners of Third Annual Life Science Catalyst Awards

17 recipients under the age of 40 celebrated for significant contributions to San Diego and Los Angeles life science industries

Biocom | Sep 13, 2018

Brian Benson, Director of Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, California NanoSystems Institute. (Image courtesy Marc Roseboro/CNSI)

This article was originally published by Biocom

San Diego and Los Angeles, Sept. 13, 2018 — Biocom, the association representing the California life science industry, today announced the winners of its third annual Life Science Catalyst Awards. The program celebrates up-and-coming entrepreneurs, academics, investors, corporate leaders and business advisers who are making a lasting and positive mark on Southern California’s life science industry prior to reaching their 40th birthday.

“Marked by their contributions to research, discovery and entrepreneurship in San Diego and Los Angeles, this year’s Life Science Catalyst Award recipients showcase the up-and-coming leaders who are transforming the life science industry,” said Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom. “Biocom is honored to recognize these people who are utilizing their skillsets to positively impact human health across the globe.”

Biocom selected the 17 winners from an impressive pool of nominees from all facets of the life science industry, including pharma, diagnostics, industrial biotech and digital health. The nominees were vetted by a committee that considered factors including innovation, leadership and vision.

In alphabetical order, the San Diego Biocom Life Science Catalyst Award winners are:

  • Stephanie Culler, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Persephone Biome
  • Punit Dhillon, co-founder and director, OncoSec Medical Inc.
  • Valentino Gantz, Ph.D., co-founder and director, Agragene, Inc., assistant research scientist, UCSD
  • Suman Kanuganti, co-founder and chief executive officer, Aira
  • Tao Long, Ph.D., assistant professor, bioinformatics and structural biology program, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
  • Jose Morachis, Ph.D., president and co-founder, NanoCellect Biomedical, Inc.
  • Taylor Moyer, chief executive officer, Managed Lab Services
  • Chorom Pak, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Lynx Biosciences
  • Drew Spaventa, chief executive officer, Singular Genomics
  • Arthur Suckow, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Dtx

In alphabetical order, the Los Angeles Biocom Life Science Catalyst Award winners are:

  • Carolina Amador, president, Biotech Connection Los Angeles (BCLA), Ph.D. candidate, USC
  • Brian Benson, director of entrepreneurship & commercialization, California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA
  • Long Cai, Ph.D., research professor, Caltech, co-founder, Spatial Genomics
  • Joseph Dunham, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and co-founder, SeqOnce Biosciences, Inc.
  • Stephen Fiacco, founder and chief executive officer, EvoRx Technologies and Canvas Pharma
  • Leo Petrossian, chief executive officer, Neural Analytics
  • Ryan Witt, chief operating officer, Immix Biopharma, Inc.

“This year’s winners, whether working tirelessly in the lab or heading their own startup, highlight the ways that the life sciences are accelerating in a way we’ve never seen before,” noted Dina Lozofsky, executive director of Biocom’s Los Angeles office. “The Los Angeles biotech community is truly strengthened by the life-changing contributions these trailblazers are making.”

“Our life science industry is dependent on the younger leaders who can continually push new advancements and innovations forward,” said Mike Krenn, president of the San Diego Venture Group, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting San Diego’s innovation economy whose members were involved in San Diego adjudication. “While the Southern California biotech sphere has historically been regarded for its excellence, these 17 honorees perpetuate this distinction that has marked our community.”

The award winners will be featured in the fall edition of Biocom’s LifeLines magazine and honored during the December Biocom Board of Directors of meeting.

About Biocom

Biocom is the largest, most experienced leader and advocate for California’s life science sector. We work on behalf of more than 1,100 members to drive public policy, build an enviable network of industry leaders, create access to capital, introduce cutting-edge STEM education programs, and create robust value-driven purchasing programs.

Founded in 1995 in San Diego, Biocom provides the strongest public voice to research institutions and companies that fuel the local and state-wide economy. Our goal is simple: to help our members produce novel solutions that improve the human condition. In addition to our San Diego headquarters, Biocom operates core offices in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, satellite offices in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo, and has a continuous staff presence in Sacramento. Our broad membership benefits apply to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, genomics and diagnostics companies of all sizes, as well as to research universities and institutes, clinical research organizations, investors and service providers.

Biocom Media Contact:
Carolyn Hawley
Canale Communications
Carolyn@canalecomm.com
(619) 849-5382