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Bob Buderi

Bob Buderi

Xconomy's founder and chairman Bob Buderi kicks off San Francisco Biotech: The Next Generation.

Credit: Gozde Efe

RDMD session

RDMD session

Nancy Yu, co-founder and CEO of RDMD, explains how her startup is bringing high-tech approaches to rare disease drug development.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Onno Faber, RDMD

Onno Faber, RDMD

Onno Faber (center) talks about RDMD, which is building a repository of patient data that can be used to develop diagnostics for rare diseases and design clinical trials.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Audience engagement

Audience engagement

Audience members queried executives about their new technologies.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Networking at UCSF Mission Bay

Networking at UCSF Mission Bay

Tristen Moors of Modis Therapeutics (left) takes advantage of a break in the action to make connections.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Cortexyme's presentation

Cortexyme's presentation

The audience watches the presentation of Cortexyme, a startup in early-stage clinical trials testing a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Casey Lynch, Cortexyme

Casey Lynch, Cortexyme

Casey Lynch, co-founder and CEO of Cortexyme, explains her company's approach to treating neurodegenerative diseases.

Credit: Gozde Efe

David Dolby, Dolby Family Venutres

David Dolby, Dolby Family Venutres

David Dolby, managing director of Dolby Family Ventures, speaks about his firm's involvement with Cortexyme.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Allogene Therapeutics panel

Allogene Therapeutics panel

Executives from Allogene Therapeutics explain the company's approach to cancer immunotherapy.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Kicking off the Allogene session

Kicking off the Allogene session

Alex Lash, Xconomy's national biotech editor, moderates the session about Allogene Therapeutics.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Alison Moore, Allogene

Alison Moore, Allogene

Alison Moore, chief technical officer for Allogene Therapeutics, listens to a question from an audience member after her company's presentation.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Wendell Lim

Wendell Lim

Wendell Lim (left), a UCSF professor and a speaker at the event, talks with attendees.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Networking at The Next Generation event

Networking at The Next Generation event

Event attendees enjoy the opportunity to network after listening to the company presentations.

Credit: Gozde Efe

More networking at the Next Generation event

More networking at the Next Generation event

Xconomy's founder and chairman, Bob Buderi (left), speaks with an attendee at the reception.

Credit: Gozde Efe

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Among the life science companies developing new approaches to disease today are those that will shape the healthcare of tomorrow.  Earlier this month, Xconomy offered a select audience a peek at some of them making advances in the Bay Area.

Three companies aiming to transform healthcare took to the stage at UCSF Mission Bay on Dec. 6 for San Francisco Biotech: The Next Generation. First up was RDMD, a San Francisco startup that is bringing a high-tech approach to the search for new treatments for rare diseases. CEO and co-founder Nancy Yu explained how a Silicon Valley hackathon led to the formation of her company, which is building a repository of patient health data. The company says this information can be used to develop diagnostics and design clinical trials.

The second company, Cortexyme, is taking a novel approach to neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. While many of the attempts to treat Alzheimer’s have targeted the buildup of beta amyloid, a protein that forms plaques in the brains of patients, Cortexyme is focused on pathogenic bacteria that the company says damages neurons. These bacteria can’t be treated with conventional antibiotics, said Casey Lynch, CEO and co-founder of the South San Francisco startup. Lynch discussed her company’s work developing a small molecule drug intended to target these bacteria and stop progression of neurodegeneration. Cortexyme’s lead drug is in early-stage clinical testing.

The third company, Allogene Therapeutics, is developing a different type of cancer immunotherapy. While cell therapies developed from a patient’s own immune cells offer a personalized approach to treating cancer, these treatments are expensive and don’t work for everyone. David Chang, Allogene’s CEO and co-founder, along with chief technical officer Alison Moore, explained how the South San Francisco company’s experimental approach develops treatments from the immune cells of donors. These “off-the-shelf” therapies could be easier to produce and less expensive than fashioning a treatment for each patient from his or her own immune cells. Allogene raised $300 million in financing when it launched in the spring. In October, the company raised $324 million more in its IPO—one of the biggest IPOs of 2018. The company’s lead therapeutic candidate is in early-stage clinical testing.

Photos from San Francisco Biotech: The Next Generation are courtesy of Gozde Efe. We’d like to thank the sponsors that made the event possible, including our host, QB3; platinum sponsor Fish & Richardson; and gold sponsors Goodwin and Synthego. Synthego was also the reception sponsor. And last but not least, thank you to the members of audience.