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Scripps California Welcomes New Life Sciences Networking Group



Scripps California Welcomes New Life Sciences Networking Group

By Cindy Brauer

There’s a new life sciences networking group in town—Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR)-San Diego—and one of its first educational activities is a panel discussion on intellectual property’s role in creating successful businesses, scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, 6 to 9 PM. Sponsored by The Scripps Research Institute, the event will be held at the Keck Amphitheater in the Beckman Center. 

The panel, titled “How Intellectual Property Turns Scientific Discoveries into Profitable Ventures,” will feature Scott Forrest, PhD, Scripps Research Institute vice president of development, and Anton Hutter, a chartered and European patent attorney specializing in biotechnology-related patent matters. The panel will also include a local biotech entrepreneur. 

The event will offer a networking session, said OBR-San Diego President Kelvin Chan, a Scripps Research graduate student in the Yu lab. 

Brainchild of Scripps Research Graduate Student 

Founded in 2011 in the United Kingdom as a network that connects academic innovators and life sciences industry professionals, OBR is the brainchild of Scripps Research graduate student Daniel Perez, currently pursuing a dual doctorate through the Skaggs Oxford fellowship program, a partnership of Oxford University and the Kellogg School of Science and Technology at Scripps Research. OBR now numbers more than 4,000 members in London, Cambridge, and Oxford. OBR’s San Diego chapter was established in February. 

“Our goal with OBR is to move ideas forward by tearing down the barriers that prevent communication between academia and industry,” said Perez, whose career interests lie in bio-entrepreneurism. “By fostering these relationships, we aim to channel the enthusiasm and innovation of younger academics—students, postdocs, junior faculty—by pairing them with each other and experienced professionals.”

OBR offers a different kind of student group, one that links campuses across the globe and, importantly, actively recruits industry and professional members, said Perez. “Another important differentiator is the Oxbridge Roundtable Solutions program, which provides industry a novel perspective on their business problems and brings together bright enthusiastic young leaders with experience.”

The new San Diego chapter aims to pursue OBR’s goal of building a bridge between academia and industry, engaging the network with three initiatives:

  • Education – the group provides twice-quarterly seminars, workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities
  • Business Consulting– the Oxbridge Roundtable Solutions program connects small teams of selected graduate and postgraduate students with biotech companies to work on strategy and consulting projects in the intersection of science, business, and entrepreneurism
  • Communication – the OBR’s online interactive Roundtable Review features articles, guest contributions, seminar summaries, VIP interviews, and commentary covering news, developments, and “hot topics” in science and business

The group is also recruiting writers not only from scientific fields, but also business and other biotech-related careers, to contribute material for the Roundtable Review. “We want our input to be as vibrant as possible,” said Chan.

Received with ‘Great Interest’ 

According to Chan, the San Diego group has been received with “great interest” from students and the area’s biotech business community. In addition to Scripps Research, the chapter has reached out to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, Salk Institute, Torrey Pines Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, and others.

Industry participation, which already includes management consultants, venture capitalists, and intellectual property firms, has grown with the help of established industry networks such as UCSD’s Entrepreneurial Challenge program and the San Diego Biotech Network, said Chan. 

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, Chan’s personal ambition is to benefit people through application of science research as part of the biotech hub in his native Singapore. “That goal and the goals of OBR coincide. So many great ideas are created and fostered in research; OBR is a means to move forward those ideas to impact the wider community.” 

OBR-San Diego membership, programs, and events are free of charge. OBR membership is required to attend events. Registration for the April 11 panel discussion can be made at

For further details on OBR-San Diego, visit the organization’s website or contact Chan at 

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“Our goal with OBR is to move ideas forward by tearing down the barriers that prevent communication between academia and industry,” said Scripps Research graduate student Daniel Perez, who founded the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable (OBR).


Kelvin Chan, a Scripps Research graduate student in the Yu lab, is OBR-San Diego’s president. (Photo by Cindy Brauer.)