Biocom Announces Winners of Life Science Catalyst Awards: 10 Innovators Under the Age of 40

Biocom announced the winners of its inaugural Life Science Catalyst Awards, presented in conjunction with the San Diego Venture Group.

The program celebrates up-and-coming academics, entrepreneurs, investors, corporate leaders and business advisers who are making a lasting and positive mark on San Diego’s life science industry before reaching their 40th birthday.

“The recipients of the Life Science Catalyst Awards represent the future of our biotechnology industry — a future that’s extremely exciting,” said Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom. “These inspiring individuals are leading the growth of life sciences in San Diego and beyond, and are actively shaping what our industry will look like tomorrow.

Biocom congratulates them for their achievements.” Biocom selected the 10 winners from an impressive pool of nominees that included professionals from a wide range of life science organizations, from publicly held biotech companies to universities and consultancies. Each nominee was vetted by a committee of Biocom and San Diego Venture Group board and committee members, evaluating factors such as innovation, leadership and vision. In addition, 10 nominees received honorable mentions.

Listed in alphabetical order, the Biocom Life Science Catalyst Award winners are:

  • Phil Baran, professor and Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute
  • Martyn Gross, founder and vice president, Clarify Medical
  • Tony Grover, vice president, business development, Banyan Biomarkers
  • Susie Harborth, general partner, BioInnovation Capital, managing director, BioLabs San Diego
  • Michael Heltzen, chief executive officer, AllSeq
  • Rob Knight, faculty director, Center for Microbiome Innovation Pediatrics, computer science and engineering, University of California, San Diego
  • Dena Marrinucci, vice president of research, Salveo Dx
  • Mike Milligan, principal, life science department, Barney & Barney
  • Ed Truitt, co-founder and chief executive officer, Lubris BioPharma
  • Ashley Van Zeeland, chief technology officer, Human Longevity

Nominees receiving honorable mention are:  Francie Barron, vice president of biology, Nanomedical Diagnostics

  • Sanjeev Bhavnani, physician-investigator at Scripps Clinic and Research Institute
  • Brenden Eckelman, vice president, scientific operations for Inhibrx
  • Thomas Hitchcock, founder and chief executive officer, Xycrobe Therapeutics
  • Jonathan Kabakoff, senior principal, science and technology, Alexandria Venture Investments/Alexandria Real Estate Equities
  • Prashant Mali, assistant professor of bioengineering, University of California, San Diego
  • David Puerta, chief operating officer, Forge Therapeutics
  • Travis Stiles, chief executive officer, Novoron Bioscience
  • Ryan Taft, senior director, scientific research, Illumina
  • Dina Uzri, R&D and business development, Abreos Biosceicnes

The award winners will be featured in the fall edition of Biocom’s LifeLines magazine and will be guests of honor at an awards reception hosted by Biocom’s board of directors at celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s Torrey Pines restaurant, Farmer & The Seahorse. For more information on the winners, visit https://www.biocom.org/s/Catalyst-Awards.

“More than 30 years after the beginnings of San Diego’s biotech industry, it’s appropriate to recognize an entirely new generation of life science leaders who are building on our city’s rich legacy of innovation while also carving their own path,” said Mike Krenn, president of the San Diego Venture Group, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting San Diego’s innovation economy. “The San Diego Venture Group applauds the passion, creativity and direction that these men and women bring to life science.”