December 4, 2018: Clinical Site Management: The Key to Successful Trials

8am - 10am
Biocom: McGraw Boardroom- 10996 Torreyana Rd. Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92121

Clinical Site Management: The Key to Successful Trials

Almost nine in ten clinical trials fail. While some failure is inevitable based on the development of the science, this figure is astoundingly, unacceptably high. Especially after spending over a billion dollars on average per trial and over a decade in development.

Why do so many clinical trials fail? There are many of the usual suspects ¬– excuses such as lack of efficacy, safety concerns, strategic reasons and economics, or some combination of these. Bull!

The real reasons: poor study design, increasingly complex protocols, poor trial management, lack of site involvement in study design, and weak teams. Awkward reasons managers don’t like to discuss, because they have to do with the quality of the clinical trial management and site selection. These are things you can do something about.

On December 4, the Biocom CRO group will present a panel of highly experienced and successful clinical trial managers, sponsors, monitors and site managers who will discuss their experiences, best practices and the lessons they have learned on the way to clinical trial success (and failure).

Lessons you can now learn for free…

Speakers: John Neal, Moderator, Founder and Chairman of PCRS Network, and Vice-Chairman of Association of Clinical Rresearch Professionals (ACRP)
Heidi Guthrie, Associate Director, CRO Services, ProSciento, Inc.
Claudia Shojai, Clinical Research Manager, DNA Electronics, Inc
Lisa Bjornestad, Director Site Alliance, the Americas at PAREXEL
Join us on December 4, 2018 at Biocom at 8am

November 13th, 8am-10am: Clinical Trials in the Asia Pacific Region: The Competitive Edge?

8am - 10am
Biocom: McGraw Boardroom- 10996 Torreyana Rd. Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92121

Clinical Trials in the Asia Pacific Region: The Competitive Edge?
Join leaders from Nucleus Network, CoSec and Novotech as they discuss incentives for undertaking clinical research down under as well as the opportunities for the entire Asia Pacific region.

Learn about Australia’s clinical trial regulatory system and process, which enables quicker approvals within 4-5 weeks of IRB submissions ( no IND or IMP required). Australian data is accepted for regulatory submissions by both the FDA & EMA offering significant savings in clinical study costs. Find out how to navigate the landscape of Australia’s internationally-accessible R&D scheme, while learning more about incentive opportunities.

Discover how Australia can serve as a soft landing for conducting early phase clinical studies in the Asia Pacific region offering access to patient naïve populations in a variety of therapeutics areas. Come learn if biotech companies are turning more to the Asia Pacific region to recruit patients quicker while reducing recruitment and study timelines.

Cameron Johnson, CEO Nucleus Network, Australian Phase 1
Stewart Walker, Vice-President, CoSec,
Aditya Kotta, Business Development, Novotech

Cameron Johnson, CEO Nucleus Network - Cameron Johnson joined Nucleus Network in August 2013 as the Chief Operating Officer before moving into the position of Managing Director. Prior to joining Nucleus Network, Cameron held the position of Chief Executive Officer at a Phase 1 Clinical Trials Organization and was also the inaugural CEO of the company. Cameron has worked in early phase clinical trials organizations conducting phase I first in human clinical studies for over 15 years across Australia and Europe.

Stewart Walker- CoSec - With nearly a decade of hands-on experience in corporate governance and compliance, Stewart Walker has a strong record of supporting US-based executives to navigate various regulatory landscapes. Stewart understands that a complex web of regulatory and reporting requirements can demand more time from executives than actually running their businesses, and he is happy to represent CoSec--a company that is committed to understanding its clients’ compliance and governance needs, fulfilling their regulatory obligations, and optimizing every opportunity that the Australian market has to offer.
Aditya Kotta - Novotech – Aditya has been in the Life Science industry for 10 years serving in a variety of roles from lab research to clinical operations, and now currently, business development. He also has experience working in both US focused and Global CROs, with clients ranging from biotech to big pharma. Aditya is passionate about putting together the time and cost efficient clinical development plans for Biotechs who are entering the clinical stage of development.

November 8, 2018- Cyber Security Risk Management for the 21st Century

8am - 10am
Biocom: McGraw Boardroom- 10996 Torreyana Rd. Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92121

Cyber threats are evolving and expanding at an astonishing pace. The attack surface has expanded to every area of modern life. Protecting a business’ critical assets has become of paramount importance; however, just as threats have evolved, so must our approach to managing these risks. Aligning security with business priority can elevate cybersecurity risk management from a technology management headache to a competitive advantage. Learn how to assess your risk, prioritize your remediation strategy, and build a security program that effectively minimizes risk to levels commensurate with your business’ risk appetite.

Michael Henry, Department of Homeland Security
Sean Walls, Vice President, Eurofins Cyber Security, North America, Inc.
Sem Ponnambalam, President, Xahive


Sem Ponnambalam, co-founder and President of xahive, is primarily responsible for global operations including cybersecurity governance, education and regulatory reviews. With 18 plus years’ experience in both private, and public sectors, Sem has been instrumental in building relationships between xahive and US, Canadian and UK clinical research institutions. She has lectured and facilitated introduction to cybersecurity governance workshops and courses for businesses including healthcare institutions, Fortune 500 companies and associations. She has also co-authored articles about the importance of cybersecurity in international medical journals, and drafted a manual on cybersecurity steps to protect small, medium, enterprises and not-for-profits from cyberbreaches. Sem was a panelist at the World Economic Forum in NYC speaking about the importance of cybersecurity, in March 2017. Sem was selected as a delegate and panelist to represent Canada at the G20 Youth Summit in Berlin, in 2017. Sem has a Bachelor of Arts Honors in Political Science: International Relations, and a Master of Arts in Legal Studies, specializing in international law both from Carleton University.

Mr. Walls is currently the Vice President of the Cyber Security division at Eurofins, a multi-billion dollar international QA and standards testing organization. He has over 20 years of experience in cybersecurity and information technology. Sean has held executive leadership positions with several national security consulting and IT integration companies. He has been a strategic advisor to hundreds of fortune 500 and 100 companies over the years and speaks regularly on cybersecurity subjects.

October 25th, 2018- How is Artificial Intelligence Benefiting Biopharma?

8am - 10am
Biocom: McGraw Boardroom- 10996 Torreyana Rd. Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92121

Join us for an interactive discussion about the applications of AI in biopharma to accelerate drug discovery.

Pharmaceutical companies have been demonstrating a real interest in artificial intelligence (AI) applications for various research needs in solving more “traditional” tasks.
This seminar will provide access to experts in AI-related technologies, ways AI can increase accuracy, reproducibility, and scale in pathology, how the AI-based integration of pathology data with data from multiple sources can enhance analysis and the application of AI in target generation, identification of hits, and in the assessment of toxicology-related binding interactions.

Reveal Biosciences is a San Diego-based computational pathology company leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enable pathologists to make diagnostic decisions faster, more accurately, and with reproducibility at scale. Reveal is developing a pipeline of AI-based pathology decision support diagnostics to benefit patients. The company also supports drug development by combining traditional histopathology with AI to transform tissue biology into actionable data.

Immuneering’s technologies leverage advanced computational approaches and A.I. platforms to accelerate drug discovery and improve clinical outcomes. For diseases where the target is not known, the Cosiner algorithm identifies offsetting molecular profiles for disease and drug by yielding both a target and potential hits. Once a target is established, the Fluency A.I. algorithm eliminates the need for costly high throughput screens by efficiently modeling and predicting the binding interactions between a target and millions of compounds to identify hits for experimental assessment. Lastly, the Fluency-Tox A.I. algorithm models and projects toxicity-related drug binding interactions and can optimize molecules to be less toxic to humans.

Casey Laris, CTO, Reveal Biosciences
Rebecca Kusto, SVP and Head of R&D, Immuneering Corporation

Submission Survival Series: Navigating FDA Data Requirements- SD, LA, Bay Area presented by Accenture

Biocom offices: SD- LA- Bay Area

Getting your submission right the first time, within budget, is a strategic imperative for your organization. Without a clear and compliant clinical data strategy, many companies will struggle during the submission process.

The interactive discussion will include up-to-date information to better prepare your company for the rigors of organizing your clinical data packages in accordance with current guidance.

Join Accenture Clinical Data Operations Director, Brian Hermann, and Intelligent Data Flow (IDF) Operations Lead, George Stuts, for the Submission Survival Series: Navigating FDA Data Requirements. The 2 hour seminar will review how to plan for your clinical data submission readiness within Module 5.

Please choose a location from the list below that best suits your needs.

San Francisco
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Los Angeles
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

San Diego
Thursday, October 18, 2018
11:00 am - 1:00 pm

​​​Topics will include:

Recent binding guidance from FDA (effective Dec 2016)
Study Data Technical Conformance Guide
Study Data Standardization Plan
Data Traceability and the FDA
Define files
Reviewers guides
Annotated CRFs
Pinnacle21 Data Validation
Submission Timelines

Who should attend:
Both early-stage companies who are new to the clinical data submission guidance’s, and portfolio builders who want to enhance their current clinical data submission knowledge, will benefit from attending the seminar.

Sherpa Summer Seminar

2pm - 6pm

Join Sherpa and the San Diego Clinical Supply Community for discussion, networking, and prizes!

Online registration closes Tuesday, July 17, noon PST. Onsite registration available.

Back by popular demand! Sherpa’s third annual Sherpa Summer Seminar brings the life sciences community together to explore ways to optimize clinical supply management. The 2018 edition will tackle common blind spots that exist between clinical operations, clinical supplies and the clinical site, and dive into the promises and challenges of direct to patient clinical trial designs. Be inspired by Sean Baumstark’s story, a warrior who is living with Friedreich’s Ataxia.

Come for the learnings, stay to connect with the life sciences community over good food (catered by Red Oven Pizza).


2:00 – 2:30pm

2:30 – 2:40pm

Mark Paiz, President, Sherpa Clinical Packaging

2:40 – 3:20pm

Harmonizing ClinOps, ClinSupplies, and the Clinical Site
For a clinical trial to go smoothly, the development and execution of clinical study design, clinical supply management, and patient enrollment must be in sync. Yet too often, this is the exception, not the rule. This panel will focus on common friction points and obstacles between clinical supplies, clinical operations, and clinical sites, and give suggestions on how to overcome them.

Moderator: Greg Kushla, PhD, RPh, Executive Director, Jeiven Pharmaceutical Consulting
Ron Carozza, C3 Research

3:20 – 4:00 pm

Direct to Patient Overview
The direct to patient (DTP) clinical trial design model is applauded for its focus on patient-centricity. For the sponsor company, this leads to shorter timelines, and less chance of costly patient drop-out. This panel will discuss the considerations that sponsor companies must be aware of when developing clinical supply strategies for DTP clinical trials such as the role of a nursing network, privacy concerns, and global regulations.

Moderator: Melissa Fassbender, US Editor, Outsourcing-Pharma
Sascha Sonnenberg, Vice President Commercial Operations Americas and EMEA, Marken
Kimberly Finn, VP Global Homecare & DTP US Services, Marken
4:00 – 4:30pm

Patient Perspective: The Importance of Clinical Trials
Sean Baumstark, Friedreich's Ataxia Survivor
4:30 – 4:40pm

Closing Remarks
Mark Paiz, President, Sherpa Clinical Packaging
4:40 – 6:00pm

Networking Hour & Tours
5:45 – 6:00pm


Wednesday, June 20th: Transformative Screening Platforms for Today’s Drug Discovery

8am - 10am
Biocom: McGraw Boardroom- 10996 Torreyana Rd. Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92121

Biocom Educational Session
Transformative Screening Platforms for Today’s Drug Discovery
June 20th, 2018

Biocom Educational Session
Transformative Screening Platforms for Today’s Drug Discovery
June 20th, 2018

Do you wish to keep abreast of the new developments in cutting-edge screening technologies? Are you trying to rise to the challenge of working with “undruggable” targets? Is getting access to the state-of-the-art biophysical screening platforms such as Affinity Selection Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) and NMR-enabled high throughput screening part of your strategies for lead generation? Are you considering adding 3D tissue ex vivo screening to your tool box for pharmacology assays? If so, come join us at the next Biocom CRO Educational Session on June 20th. This program will showcase some of the most advanced technologies to help address the challenges that scientists are facing today when low hanging fruits in drug discovery are harder to find. Three featured speakers from Viva Biotech, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Asellus Therapeutics will be sharing with the audience their know-how and insights from different perspectives. Case studies using different approaches will also be demonstrated. We look forward to a great discussion with all of you who are passionate about technology innovation and drug discovery.

1. 8:00AM Introduction
2. 8:15AM ASMS Screening as an Enabling Platform for Early Lead Discovery - Dr. Shawn Cheng, CTO of Viva Biotech
3. 8:45AM Takeda’s Tool Kit of Biophysical Methods - Dr. Elisa Barile, Senior Scientist, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
4. 9:15AM Humanized 3D Modeling for Oncology Drug Discovery - Dr. Brett Hall, CEO of Asellus Therapeutics
5. 9:45AM Q&A

Shawn Cheng, PhD Elisa Barile, PhD Brett Hall, PhD
CTO, Viva Biotech Senior Scientist, Takeda CEO, Asellus Therapeutics

Speaker Bios/Abstracts:

a) Dr. Shawn Cheng, CTO, Viva Biotech

Dr. Cheng is a leading expert in the area of biological screening, FBDD, mass spectrometry, and its application to drug discovery. He published many first-authored or co-authored papers in Nature, JACS (8), PNAS, etc.
Prior to his current position as Viva Vice President in DMPK, Dr. Cheng worked for 13 years in the Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development division of Abbott Laboratories. He has established a HTS mass spectrometry group to support the drug discovery efforts, led the development of methods for analysis and screening of combinatorial libraris, the development of affinity selection/mass spectrometry (ASMS) technology, and method development in the area of ADME, DMPK and biomarker analysis. He has steered the efforts in a very comprehensive study on library compound stabilities and conditions for the safe storage and handling of compound libraries in HTS screening and in drug discovery.
Dr. Cheng obtained his B.S. in chemistry from Peking University in Beijing China and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, USA. He had further postdoctoral training in mass spectrometry of macromolecules from Dr. Catherine Fenselau at the University of Maryland in Baltimore County, MD, USA, and Dr. Richard Smith at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) in Richland, WA, USA. He also participated in the development of methods for detection of intact DNAs and for detection of ligand binding to biomacromolecules from compound library mixtures using ESI-FTMS technologies at PNNL.

b) Dr. Elisa Barile, Senior Scientist, Takeda Pharmaceuticals
a) Dr. Elisa Barile, Senior Scientist, Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Barile obtained an M.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Naples (Naples, Italy) and a Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry with a focus on Natural Products Chemistry and molecular pharmacology. Soon after her doctoral studies, she spent 8 years as a scientist in Dr. M. Pellecchia’s laboratory at the Sanford-Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute, in San Diego. She gained extensive experience in structure-based drug design approaches, biophysical, biochemical and cellular assays, with a deeper interest in NMR spectroscopy and its application in drug discovery. Her research focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds targeting protein-protein interactions in cancer, infectious diseases, and neurological disorders. To date, Dr. Barile has published over 40 manuscripts in these areas. After a 1-year experience in a start-up based in san Diego, AnCoreX Therapeutics, in 2017 she joined Takeda California, where she is currently holding a Senior Scientist position in the Structural Biology and Biophysics group.

Abstract: We describe an overall strategy applied at Takeda where orthogonal biophysical approaches are used to successfully drive drug discovery projects, for both hit identification and hit validation studies. We will give an overview of the in house established techniques and the side support we gather from external collaborations. The presentation will focus more on NMR spectroscopy and its successful application in a few challenging projects selected as example

c) Dr. Brett Hall, CEO, Asellus Therapeutics

Dr. Hall obtained his B.S. from Ohio State University and Ph.D. from West Virginia University. After completing his postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, he was a tenure-track assistant professor at Ohio State University. While in academia, his laboratory focused on advancing humanized 3D tumor models with the goal of improving translational readouts from preclinical models. He transitioned to the pharmaceutical industry in 2008 and held expanding leadership roles in Translational Medicine at Janssen (J&J) and Medimmune (AstraZeneca). He and his teams have been responsible for translational strategies for over 30 oncology drug programs and have contributed to the registration of four oncology drug programs. Dr. Hall is currently CEO at Asellus Therapeutics, an innovative oncology drug discovery biotechnology company in San Diego.

Will artificial intelligence solve the drug discovery productivity crisis?

530pm - 830pm
12790 El Camino Real- San Diego, CA 92130

Will artificial intelligence solve the drug discovery productivity crisis?

There needs to be a fundamental shift in drug discovery, and artificial intelligence may be the key to bringing the pharma industry into the 21st century. Drug makers and tech companies are investing billions of dollars in artificial intelligence with the hope that AI will make the drug discovery process faster and cheaper. From designing better compounds to targeting the correct patients for clinical trials, machine learning and advanced algorithms may be utilized to increase the speed and success of drug development. As many as 74% of life science executives believe that AI will result in significant change or even completely transform their industry within 3 years.

However, not everyone is convinced that AI will transform drug development. There is caution until the true power of these technologies is completely understood, concern that AI is “over-hyped,” and skepticism among the public about its value. This program will provide new insights and experiences on how to move away from the hype. Innovators and entrepreneurs from some of the hottest companies in the field will present real world case studies based on the latest science demonstrating how to harness AI and ML to transform aspects of the life sciences industry, from R&D through personalized medicine. This is followed by an interactive panel discussion around the current state of the field, regulatory and other development hurdles, and what the future of AI and ML in drug discovery holds.


Attila Hajdu, MBA, MSc, CEO, Stelvio Therapeutics


Bryan Walker, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Animantis, La Jolla, CA
Janusz Dutkowski, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, Data4Cure, San Diego, CA
Jasna Delic, Partnering Executive, Atomwise, San Francisco, CA
Navid Alipour, JD/MBA, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Analytics Ventures, La Jolla, CA
Casey Laris, Co-Founder and CTO, Reveal Biosciences, San Diego, CA


5:30: Registration, Networking, food and drinks
6:30: Panel discussion
7:30: Audience Q & A
8:00: Program Concludes, Networking, Coffee & Dessert until 8:30


This event is of value for everyone working in the life science industry. It is especially relevant for individuals in drug discovery in academia, research institutes, and industry. Also, drug development, bioinformatics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, venture capital, and start-ups.


$35 l Early Bird through May 12
$45 l General Registration
$25 l Student
$55 l Day of Event


Knobbe Martens
12790 El Camino Real
San Diego, CA 92130


Attila Hajdu, MBA, MSc, CEO, Stelvio Therapeutics

Stelvio Therapeutics, a JLABS San Diego resident company, is developing novel therapeutics for glioblastoma through an epigenetics live imaging-based platform that is deeply rooted in machine learning. Attila is an experienced executive with 17 years’ experience in big pharma (GSK, Astellas) and biotechnology (Sirona Biochem) in various senior leadership roles in sales, marketing, finance, clinical development, medical affairs and business development. His passion is successfully delivering innovative solutions for unmet needs.

Bryan Walker, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Animantis

Bryan is the founder and CEO of Animantis, an early stage company that has developed an AI-based drug discovery platform focused on modeling complex cellular behaviors and interactions to better predict drug efficacy. As CEO, Bryan has been responsible for developing the overall strategy for the company, securing financing, and engaging pharmaceutical and academic partners leveraging Animantis’ proprietary platform. Prior to founding Animantis in 2014, Bryan was a researcher at Yale University. During his time as a researcher at Yale, Bryan developed modular engineered tissue models to more effectively characterize primary innate immune cell function in vitro. Bryan graduated from Yale University with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2013.

Janusz Dutkowski, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, Data4Cure

Janusz Dutkowski is Co-founder and CEO of Data4Cure, Inc. – a company focused on combining systems biology, machine learning and AI to facilitate continuous translation of biomedical data to knowledge. His background is in mathematics and computer science. For the last 15 years he has been working at the intersection of mathematics, computer science and biology to develop new data-driven technologies to advance the discovery of new biomarkers and precision-based therapies. Before founding Data4Cure he was a scientist at the University of California, San Diego where along with Dr. Trey Ideker he led the development of methods for multiscale analysis of molecular networks and integrative methods for biomarker discovery from multidimensional data. He has co-authored over 20 research papers published in scientific journals including Nature Biotechnology, Science and Cell.

Jasna Delic, Partnering Executive, Atomwise

Jasna is Partnering Executive at Atomwise. Atomwise develops artificial intelligence systems using powerful deep learning algorithms and supercomputers to shorten the process of discovering new drugs. In March 2018, Atomwise raised a $45 million Series A, bringing their total amount raised to $51 million. The company now has more than 50 molecular discovery programs.

Navid Alipour, JD/MBA, Co-Founder, Managing Partner, Analytics Ventures

Navid is Co-founder and Managing Partner at Analytics Ventures, a Venture Formation Fund focused on starting new ventures with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) at their core. Prior to co-founding Analytics Ventures, Navid founded La Costa Investment Group, making targeted investments in multiple AI based companies, bringing them from inception to success, including CureMetrix and Curematch. Navid serves on the Board of Tech San Diego where he is recognized for his role helping develop San Diego’s now thriving eco-system. He is also on the boards of CureMetrix, AV Lab, Kazuhm, AlphaTrAI, & AdTheos. He has been a panelist, judge, speaker and moderator at forums such as UCSD, USD, SDSU, CyberHive, HeraHub, MIT Forum, RSNA, U.S. News STEM Conference, and CONNECT. Navid holds a BA from UC San Diego, and a JD/MBA from the University of San Diego.

Casey Laris, Co-Founder and CTO, Reveal Biosciences

Casey Laris is Co-founder and CTO at Reveal Biosciences, a computational pathology company leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to enable pathologists to make diagnostic decisions faster, more accurately, and for less money. Reveal has partnered with leading clinical pathology labs providing access to millions of patient pathology slides and data. This data has allowed them to develop a strong pipeline of highly accurate AI-based clinical diagnostics, with the first reaching the clinic in Q3 2018. Prior to co-founding Reveal, Casey spent 20 years in a variety of roles developing and analyzing big data sets from high throughput microscopes with the aim to improve diagnosis in the clinic. He has served in product and tech lead roles at UCSD, Sanford-Burnham MRI, Beckman Coulter, Accerlys and Vala Sciences. Casey holds a BS from UC San Diego. He believes that the use of AI in pathology will make a strong impact to patients both in the US and throughout the world.

For Sponsorship Opportunities Contact Teresa Gallagher, President, San Diego Clinical Research Network. Phone 858-692-1835.


Have questions about Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning in Drug Discovery: Moving Beyond the Hype? Contact San Diego Clinical Research Network (SDCRN) and San Diego Biotechnology Network (SDBN)

San Diego Clinical Research Network (SDCRN) and San Diego Biotechnology Network (SDBN)
San Diego Clinical Research Network (SDCRN) provides educational programs for the life science community on emerging topics in clinical research and related areas. SDCRN also publishes a national clinical research newsletter, Clinical Research Currents.

For more information, contact Teresa Gallagher at

The San Diego Biotechnology Network (SDBN) is in its 10th year, amassing more than 20,000 life science followers who depend on it to improve their networking skills and stay updated on local and global biotechnology news and events.

For more information, contact Mary Canady.