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San Diego’s Biotech Industry Legends to Discuss Insights into Past & Future Nov. 7


  • Dolores Davies

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  • Dolores Davies

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Three legendary San Diego venture capitalists will discuss past lessons learned and thoughts about the future of local commercial biotech ventures during the first in a series of planned “conversations” Nov. 7 in Calit2’s Atkinson Hall at UC San Diego. The event is being billed as the first of its kind in San Diego.

“What’s Past is Prologue:  Creating the Life Sciences Industry in San Diego” is sponsored by the Life Sciences Foundation and the UC San Diego Library, and co-sponsored by CONNECT, BioMed Realty, Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, and Sughrue Mion, with community partners BIOCOM and San Diego Venture Group. The panelists, who will offer their insights into the past and future of San Diego biotech, will include Jim Blair of Domain Associates, Kevin Kinsella of Avalon Ventures, and Tim Wollaeger of Sanderling Partners. Ivor Royston of Forward Ventures will serve as moderator. The 4 p.m. discussion will be followed by a reception at 5 p.m.

Blair, Kinsella and Wollaeger helped to create the San Diego life sciences industry more than 30 years ago, and remain active today. Creating such high profile companies as Dura Pharmaceuticals, Vertex and Pyxis, they will discuss the birth of San Diego’s life sciences cluster, current conditions, and their vision for the future.

Moderator Ivor Royston, M.D., is a founding managing partner of Forward Ventures. Dr. Royston has been involved in the biotechnology industry in San Diego from its inception in 1978 with the founding of Hybritech, Inc., later acquired by Eli Lilly, and with the founding of Idec Pharmaceuticals in 1986, which later merged with Biogen.

Jim Blair has been a partner of Domain Associates since its founding in 1985. Dr. Blair has over 40 years’ experience with venture and emerging growth companies. He has been involved in the creation and successful development at the board level of over 40 life sciences ventures, including Amgen, Aurora Biosciences, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Applied Biosystems, Dura Pharmaceuticals, GeneOhm Sciences, Molecular Dynamics, NuVasive, Pharmion and Volcano.

Kevin Kinsella founded Avalon Ventures in 1983. He has specialized in the formation, financing and/or development of more than 100 early-stage companies. Kinsella was the founding chairman of Athena Neurosciences, Aurora Biosciences Corp., Landmark Graphics, NeoRx, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Synaptics, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, X-Ceptor and Sequana Therapeutics.

Timothy Wollaeger has more than 30 years’ experience in the medical products and biotechnology fields in both corporate management and venture capital. Wollaeger joined Sanderling Ventures as a managing director in 2002, and opened the firm’s San Diego office. He founded Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Biosite, Columbia Hospital, Digirad Pyxis, Senomix, Sotera Wireless and Vical.

Over the last 20 years, San Diego has developed to become one of largest and most dense biotechnology hubs in the nation.  Regional clusters in telecommunications, information and software technology are also continuing to take grow and take shape. To increase scholarly and public understanding of San Diego’s culture of innovation, the UC San Diego Library has launched the San Diego Technology Archive (SDTA), an online, interactive archive documenting the history, development, and growth of the companies and entrepreneurial entities that make up San Diego’s technology clusters.  The archive focuses on San Diego’s life sciences and information technology clusters. For more information on the SDTA:

Tickets for the Nov. 7 event are $25. For more information and to register, please visit:

The Life Sciences Foundation is dedicated to capturing the history, preserving the heritage, and sharing the stories of biotechnology. The foundation collects and organizes historical information to educate and inspire future innovators, to engage the general public, and to provide lay audiences with an understanding of life sciences and biotechnology.

The UC San Diego Library, ranked among the nation’s top public academic research libraries, provides access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge and information needs of faculty, students, and members of the public.  For more information:

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