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Radar Therapeutics Wins First-Ever Amgen Bakar Labs Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Award

By Niki Borghei.

Radar Therapeutics co-founder & CEO Sophia Lugo (right) accepts the award from, L-R, Amgen’s director of technology and strategic alliances and therapeutic discovery; Kelly Huggins; chief of staff Laura Parmer-Lohan; and executive director Jason DeVoss.

In an initiative to solve one of the biggest challenges facing the biotech industry, Bakar Labs and Amgen have named Radar Therapeutics the winner of the inaugural Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Award. The award is the result of an effort to champion excellence in biotechnology research and support underrepresented communities, particularly women and people of color. It comes with $15,000 in unrestricted funding from Amgen.

“We’re elated to see Amgen promoting the importance of diversity, inclusion, and belonging at their company and in industry, and honored to have received the award,” says Radar CEO and co-founder Sophia Lugo, a first-generation immigrant from Mexico. Sophia co-founded Radar with CSO Eerik Kaseniit, a Stanford bioengineer originally from Estonia.

The barriers to success in the biotech industry have become increasingly apparent despite efforts to encourage women and people of color to aspire to leadership roles in STEM+ fields. The data doesn’t lie — in biotech and biopharma roles, people of color make up less than a quarter of C-suite executives, and female-founded companies receive only about 2% of all VC funding. To address these gaps, Amgen and Bakar Labs sought a current tenant company with a diverse team that is committed to addressing healthcare disparities. Radar’s recognition is not only a testament to their accomplishments, but also a pivotal moment in the collective effort to build a more inclusive industry.

“Our first company-wide policy put our commitment to diversity and inclusion at center,” says Sophia. “At Radar, we value diverse thought and backgrounds, provide equal opportunities based on merit, do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, and above all lead with empathy. We only hire rockstars who are aligned with our mission, and reflect the diversity of the patient population we aim to serve. At Radar, 3 of 4 company leaders are women in minority groups, tasked with building up teams that care for each other and reflect our values.”

Congratulations to Sophia, Eerik, and Radar!