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Steve Lo

What Makes a Good CEO? Steve Lo, Former Valitor CEO, Has Answers

A "mentorship mentality" shapes the trajectory of aspiring leaders. By mentoring others, leaders not only hone their technical knowledge but also practice crucial soft skills such as effective communication. Moreover, mentorship fosters a sense of community and support, enabling CEOs to cultivate a strong network. Read post
Venkat Reddy, Greg Timblin, Ingrid Caton & David Moffat

Tenant Spotlight on Inapill: A Novel Approach to Interrupting Inflammation

“We hope this new oral therapeutic targeting proinflammatory immunometabolism will have 'pipeline-in-a-pill' potential,” says CEO and co-founder Greg Timblin. “Once it garners FDA approval in one inflammatory indication, it could be used in the clinic as a treatment across multiple inflammatory diseases. Perhaps it could even provide benefit to patients with more complex diseases where excessive inflammation is thought to be a driving factor, such as cardiometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.” Read post
Shakked Halperin

Rewrite and Replace: Shakked Halperin, Serial Entrepreneur

“CRISPR offered a pair of DNA scissors that were going to change the world,” Shakked says. “But I didn’t want to just cut. I wanted to rewrite with full control over the target sequence, so with Rewrite I turned to nature’s DNA writer – DNA polymerases – and made something closer to a pencil.” Read post
Beth Zotter and Julian Rees

Umaro and HOPO, Bakar Labs Tenants, Partner in DOE-Funded Project to Extract Rare Earth Elements from Seaweed

Two Bakar Labs tenants, Umaro and HOPO, have forged an unlikely partnership to extract rare earth elements from seaweed in a project funded by a $1.78 million grant from the US Department of Energy. The award was announced Thursday, November 2, through the ARPA-E program. The joint project will explore seaweed as a sustainable source of rare earth elements, such as neodymium and dysprosium, crucial for advanced manufacturing. Sectors that could benefit include renewable electricity, computer chips, and electric vehicles. Read post
The Minutia team, all business. Bottom row from left: Molly Klimak, Sean Meyer, Victor Mann, Katy Digovich, Janna Register, Sapna Puri, Debapriya Saha. Top from left: Helen Clark, Bill Hyun, Christian Schuetz, Johnny Ma, Jessica Chavez.

Hope on the Horizon: How Minutia Plans to Cure Diabetes with Cell Therapy

“I grew up in Silicon Valley, around this energy that a company is a great vehicle to build something of value,” said Katy. “I want to build things that need to exist in the world, and at Minutia, we’re doing this in two ways: cell therapy and the cell based sensors that can help ensure safety and improve efficacy of cell therapies.” Minutia’s cell therapy is a functional cure for type 1 diabetes that involves transplanting insulin producing cells just underneath the skin. Not only is this safer and less invasive compared to some existing cell therapies, which require surgically implanting cells into the liver, but Minutia’s cells are paired with nanosensors that bring the medical marvels of science fiction to real life. Read post
Yana Aznavour and Max Sorokin

Empowering Women, One Test at a Time: The Endometrics Approach to Endometriosis

Roughly 190 million women suffer from endometriosis worldwide. In endometriosis, the tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, causing debilitating pelvic pain and infertility. The chronic pain can last for almost a lifetime - but despite the severity of the pain, many women don’t even realize they have a disease. And it can be difficult for doctors to tell, too. As the CEO and founder of Bakar Labs tenant Endometrics, Dr. Aznavour is dedicated to bridging the gap between patients and easy, painless diagnosis. Read post
Sampling Human co-founders Daniel Georgiev, Martin Cienciala, and Hynek Kasl (L-R) at Ocean Beach shortly after their arrival in San Francisco from the Czech Republic.

Tenant Spotlight on Sampling Human: Using Biology to Analyze Biology

Anyone who’s had a blood draw as a patient – in short, everyone – knows that what the doctor gets to work with is a basic count of red and white blood cells. But there’s so much information that we’re missing, which could help inform and develop much more precise treatment. Daniel Georgiev and Sampling Human want to solve this problem. Their solution: using biology to analyze biology. Read post
The Regel Therapeutics leadership team

Tenant Spotlight on Regel Therapeutics: A New Approach to Gene Therapy

“I always used to enjoy science and technological innovation. For a scientist, curiosity leads to discovery, but it is a need that leads to invention. In the back of my mind, I always knew that to make a clinical product into a reality, I have to take the technology out of the lab and develop it in an industry setting. Patients and their caregivers motivated me to take this leap into entrepreneurship," says Navneet Matharu. Read post
Don Ganem and Kelly Wong

Tenant Spotlight on Via Nova Therapeutics & Antiviral Development: Seek Out Investors Whose Aims Align With Yours

“Don and I got to talking and we decided, let's try to get these assets out of Novartis and found Via Nova. A little over a year ago, we were able to execute on a Series A, to get an initial funding of $20 million, which also enabled the in-licensing of the assets from Novartis. The four that we chose are for influenza, human rhinovirus, BK polyomavirus and adenovirus.” Two scientists without a team or a lab raised $20 million? You heard right. That funding came from Aditum Bio, an investment firm founded by former Novartis scientists who could appreciate that millions of dollars had already been invested into the R&D for these assets. Read post
A group photo of 5 people at Bakar Labs. CEO Greg Went is far left, with CSO Jack Nguyen to his right.

Tenant Spotlight: Reflexion Pharmaceuticals & The Mirror World of D-Therapeutics

CEO Greg Went appreciates that our time on Earth is short. What he cares about is helping patients with medicines that work. He doesn’t have time for the ego that some scientists have tied up in the technologies they’re developing. He admits that, early on, even his company was too into itself. “What Reflexion lacked early on was the mentality of ‘why develop this technology if it’s not better than monoclonal antibodies.’ ‘Same as’: we don’t need that. We need products that are a factor of two to ten times better than the standard of care.” Read post
Valitor Team

Tenant Spotlight: Valitor Aligns Its Stakeholders to Develop Biopolymer Therapeutics

“Getting the science right is hard enough, but at least I was trained to be a scientist,” says CSO and former CEO Wesley Jackson. “The skill that I had to learn the quickest was to keep all the company’s stakeholders aligned. I naively assumed that if the science was great enough, it would be sufficient to launch the business. But, instead, I found that a company can only exist because there is a team of people who have an interest in it existing." Read post
Perlumi's Chris Eiben at the bench.

Tenant Spotlight: Perlumi’s Plan to Perfect Photosynthesis 

“We can’t make more land, so we need to be more efficient with it. One way to do this is to make plants fundamentally better at photosynthesis. If you make photosynthesis better, you solve a lot of problems at the same time. You increase food security, you can pull CO2 out of the atmosphere for the long term, and you can spare land for biodiversity.”  Read post
The Catena team (L-R: Samantha Brady, Chanez Symister, Maxwell Nguyen, Marco Lobba) at the opening launch event for Bakar Labs and the Bakar BioEnginuity Hub. UC Berkeley photo by Keegan Houser.

Tenant Spotlight: Catena Biosciences and Next-Generation Protein Coupling

How can we direct therapeutics to where we want them to take effect? Often the solution lies in attaching, or conjugating, a therapy to another molecule that performs the targeting function. “We discovered a new protein conjugation process that allowed us to build things like CRISPR base editors,” says Catena CEO and co-founder Marco Lobba. “It’s not just applicable to Cas9, but also to antibodies, cell-based therapies, and several other types of new drugs." Read post