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'Garage' Start-ups Now Possible in Life Sciences Industry

CLAREMONT, Calif., Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Business and technology opportunities are affording today's "garage" entrepreneurs—similar to those who built Silicon Valley decades ago—the chance to create successful new companies in the life sciences industry, according to business leaders who will speak at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) on Dec. 2.

As part of KGI's Focus Track Fridays seminar series, executives with experience at both large pharmaceutical manufacturers and promising startups will discuss how the industry is changing and what paths tomorrow's success stories in biotechnology will take.

"Our goal on December 2 is to look forward to what the industry may look like five to ten years down the road," said Professor Joel West, PhD, a specialist in innovation management who is organizing the event. "This includes how life scientists are now emulating the ethos of Silicon Valley startups — where the power of an idea can be more important to the success of a new venture than access to capital or connections."

Topics up for discussion may include:

  • How a shift to genomic medicine could transform the pharma sales channel and the role of doctors and pharmacists;
  • How the availability of outsourcing, genomic databases and cloud computing is reducing the cost of launching biotech startups, allowing entrepreneurs to model their business operations after those in the software industry;
  • What changes may be in store for clinical trials, including the use of unconventional methods such as "crowd sourcing."

Speakers will include Dr. Stephen Eck, vice president of oncology medical sciences at Astellas Pharma Global Development (and former executive at Eli Lilly and Pfizer) who will discuss genomics, market segmentation and the implications for the pharmaceutical industry.

Following Eck will be panel discussion addressing the subject: "Open, cheap and fast: New models of biotechnology entrepreneurship." Those scheduled to speak are Ryan Bethencourt, director of business development for Parexel; Joel Dudley, co-founder and director of informatics at NuMedii; and Raymond McCauley, chief science officer for Genomera.

For more information on the day's events and registration information, visit

KGI BackgrounD

A member of The Claremont Colleges, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) educates the future leaders of the bioscience industry by offering an interdisciplinary graduate education through its Professional Science Masters and other academic programs. KGI emphasizes team-based learning and real-world projects, while its research program concentrates on the translation of life-science discoveries into applications that can benefit society.

SOURCE Keck Graduate Institute
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