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SABPA Newsletter April 2024

April 1, 2024

SABPA is pleased to present you the following in this newsletter:

1. The 8th Frontiers in Therapeutics & Diagnostics Forum Recap
2. BioCentury SoCal Biotech & Venture Networking Reception
3. Community News

1. The 8th Frontiers in Therapeutics & Diagnostics Forum Recap

    The 8th Annual Frontiers in Therapeutics & Diagnostics Forum (FTD Forum),
one of the two esteemed conferences of the SoCal Association for Biomedical and
Pharmaceutical Advancements (SABPA), recently took place in San Diego, CA.
The FTD forum is a focused one-day conference event filled with presentations
featuring industry leaders and experts, engaging panel discussions, and
concurrent technical lunch-and-learn sessions, showcasing groundbreaking
scientific innovations, cutting-edge technologies, and advancements in the
biomedical and pharmaceutical industry in Southern California.
The 8th Annual FTD featured two exciting topics in today’s biopharma industry:
1) GLP-1 Receptor Agonists: From Diabetes to Obesity and Beyond
GLP-1 receptor agonists are among some of the most successful therapeutics
discovered in treating diabetes and beyond. This year, SABPA had the honor to
have several noticeable speakers share their journey in GLP-1 discovery. Hua
Gong, MD, PhD, the President of SABPA, kicked off the FTD forum with the
opening remark. The Chair of the FTD committee, Stephanie Shi, PhD, and Co-
Chair Howard Pan, PhD, chaired the morning sessions. In the morning sessions,
the 2024 SAPBA FTD Achievement Award recipient, Chief Scientific Advisor of
Novo Nordisk Lotte Bjerre Knudsen, highlighted the broad applications of GLP-1
receptor agonists in treating diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Mark
Fineman, PhD, and Chief Development Officer of Glyscend Therapeutics shared
the history of Glyscend’s First-in-Class GLP-1 Receptor Agonist. William Roll,
PhD, Director, Insulin Discovery/Incretin Discovery of Eli Lilly, shared the discovery
of Tirzepatide, a long-acting GIP receptor and GLP-1 receptor agonist.

2) The rise of ADC: AI and Minimal Residual Diseases
The second half of the conference focused on antibody-drug conjugates (ADC), a
highly versatile therapeutic modality with the promise to treat cancers and
neuromuscular diseases. Venkata Doppalapudi, PhD, VP of Chemistry, Avidity
Biosciences, provided insights from the Phase 1/2 MARINA Trial utilizing AOC
1001 for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy Type 1. Alan Jiang, MD, PhD,
reviewed XtalPi’s platform on leveraging AI and automation for rapid antibody
discovery. Tyler Stewart, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, presented the
promise of leveraging ctDNA to improve cancer care. Shawn Shao-Hui Zhang,
PhD, Chief Scientific Officer and General Manager of Ambrx, shared the strength
of Ambrx’s ADC pipeline leveraging the expanded genetic code platform
technologies. In the afternoon’s panel discussion, Hui Li, PhD, CEO of Adcentrx
Therapeutics, chaired the panel discussion focusing on the emergence of ADC

innovations. The panelists included Shawn Shao-Hui Zhang, PhD, Venkata
Doppalapudi, PhD, Enoch Kariuki, PharmD, and Isan Chen, MD.
This FTD forum included two highly informative concurrent Lunch and Learn
sessions. Yinghong Gao, Venture Partner & VP of BD, Viva Biotech, gave a
presentation on Viva Biotech’s ability in de novo antibody discovery. Wending
Yang, PhD, Founder, and Chief Scientific Officer, ClinBridge Biotech introduced the
companies’ highly clinically relevant disease models and translational tools.
It is also the Forum’s first time to incorporate a poster session exclusively
sponsored by CorDx with more than 40 posters from academia and industry. In
these highly interactive discussions, presenters and conference attendees
engaged in scientific idea exchange and networking.
The 8th FTD forum is another successful example of how SABPA has contributed
to strengthening the connections of Southern California’s Biotech and
Pharmaceutical communities.

2024 SABPA FTD Achievement Award Hua / Lotte / Steph

Lotte Bjerre Knudsen




The Panelists



2. BioCentury SoCal Biotech & Venture Networking Reception


In conjunction with the 2024 BIO Conference, SABPA and BioCentury are pleased to co-host a networking reception showcasing biotech and venture in Southern California.  


Join the fireside chat with David Crean and Karen Tuzman for their insights on the investment environment and trends of Southern California, and the panel with Nikhil Mutyal, Peter Condon, Olivier Laurent, and more, for their perspectives and recent successful stories of industrial partnerships and acquisitions of San Diego biotech companies. 

Please click here for registration!



3. Community News


SAN DIEGO, April 16, 2024 -- Kumquat Biosciences, a leader in translating breakthrough science into first-in-class therapeutics, announced today a strategic and exclusive collaboration with Takeda to develop and commercialize a novel immuno-oncology small molecule inhibitor as mono-and/or combination-therapy.


Under the terms of the agreement, Kumquat granted Takeda an exclusive, global, and royalty-bearing license to develop and commercialize a selected small molecule inhibitor. Subject to Kumquat's option, Takeda will assume and fund all development and commercialization activities beyond the phase 1 trial activities led by Kumquat.


Kumquat will receive up to $130 million in near-term payments and potentially more than $1.2 billion if all future clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones are achieved during the term of the agreement plus tiered royalties on potential net sales of any commercial products resulting from this license.


For more details of the good news, please see PRNewswire.


Congratulations to Dr. Yi Liu, Dr. Tao Wu, and all the SABPA volunteers at Kumquat!


We are excited to hear the good news and look forward to Kumquat's continued success!






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