Event Recap: Celebrating Life Science Leaders at CLSA Pantheon Awards

IMG_1279By Dr. Karen Ring for Big3Bio

The science world might not seem as glamorous as Hollywood and the red carpet, but last night the California Life Sciences Association (CLSA) threw an awards ceremony worthy of the Oscars.

With a program that included everything from beakers to bagpipe players, the 2015 CLSA Pantheon DiNA Awards honored the groundbreaking accomplishments of scientific leaders and companies within California’s burgeoning life sciences community.

This year’s life sciences leadership awards went to:

  • Bill Rastetter, a pioneer in cancer therapeutics and an influential biotech investor

  • Douglass Crawford and Regis Kelly (pictured below), the masterminds of UCSF’s QB3 startup incubator

  • Stephanie Couch, a champion of STEM education at Cal State University

Reg Kelly & Doug Crawford
CLSA president and CEO Sara Radcliffe welcomed a packed room at the San Francisco Marriott and got down to business: “Nothing about the life sciences is easy. Tonight we gather here to honor the bold thinkers who have made the revolutionary discoveries and developed the pioneering solutions that we all seek.”

The ceremony also featured a number of other award categories to honor the diverse accomplishments of life sciences companies this past year. Here’s a quick-and-dirty recap of who won what:

Rising stars:

Kite Pharma won for its clinical stage program using cancer immunotherapy to target leukemia and lymphoma.

Ultragenyx was honored for being a champion of rare disease therapeutic development and has six product candidates in clinical trials.

Outstanding Partners:

Sutro Biopharma, an antibody-based cancer therapeutics company that’s collaborating with pharma and biotechs to discover and develop novel therapeutics.

Celgene for their global efforts to develop and commercialize therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases.

Outstanding Product/Therapeutic:

Amgen and its novel cholesterol-lowering treatment, Repatha. Repatha is a PCSK9 inhibitor (antibody therapeutic) that lowers the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood.

Digital Health Innovation:

Proteus Digital Health was honored for creating a new category of therapy called digital medicines, which empower patients and families while allowing doctors and healthcare systems achieve better outcomes.

Outstanding product/medical device:

St. Jude Medical for their HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device for advanced-stage heart failure that has already been implanted in more than 22,000 patients worldwide.

Outstanding company:

Receptos, a San Diego based biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutic candidates to treat immune and metabolic diseases.

Bill Rastetter closed the ceremony with a nod to California’s life science efforts. Unlike large pharmaceuticals that are handicapped in many ways, Rastetter praised small companies and entrepreneurs in California for their adaptability and their lack of wariness towards the rapid changes in developing and delivering new medicines. By embracing this change as a concept and an opportunity, these individuals and companies are helping to secure California’s position as one of the top leaders in the life sciences worldwide.

More highlights from Twitter

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CLSA Pre-event press release