Bulletin, President's Corner

Welcome New CLSA Members; Moonshot to Cure Cancer; Tackling Rare Diseases; Bristol-Myers Squibb Partnering Day; 2016 FAST Spring Participants Selected

RETWritten By:
Sara Radcliffe
President & CEO
CLSA – California Life Sciences Association 

March 9, 2016

At CLSA, we’re proud to bring together the collective strength and experience of the world’s most innovative and productive life science clusters, helping companies grow, connect and advocate to solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges. It is our network of pioneering member organizations that allows us to do this, and I would like to welcome our newest Members to the CLSA community: Actelion Pharmaceuticals, Affinita Biotech, Avalanche Biotechnologies, AON, Bionova Scientific, NanJing BioSciKin, and STAT. These organizations join our 750+ membership portfolio and add significantly to the expertise and resources available in the CLSA network.

Moonshot to Cure Cancer

Did you know? California life sciences companies, including many CLSA members, have 366 cancer medicines under development or in the research pipeline.

In his recent State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama challenged the nation to redouble our efforts in the war on cancer, calling for a new “moonshot” to find cures for this deadly disease (see our infographic on Fueling the Cancer “Moonshot”). CLSA is educating California legislators on the importance of implementing policies that protect biomedical innovation and not policies that hinder innovation. I highlighted my thoughts in an op-ed on how the California life sciences community can make strides towards finding a cure to cancer.

CLSA Joins the Global Community for Rare Disease Day

Last week, CLSA joined the global community to observe Feb. 29 as World Rare Disease Day. Our advocacy team is working across the federal and state levels to drive policies bolstering rare disease treatment R&D. Rare diseases are a growing public health challenge, and CLSA’s Jenny Carey, Vice-President of Federal Government Relations & Alliance Development, called on all of us to combat rare diseases in her recent op-ed.

In Sacramento, CLSA co-sponsored an event in honor of Rare Disease Day, where we informed legislators and their staff members about the critical issues affecting rare diseases. During my address, I emphasized the importance of industry and policymakers working hand in hand to make rare diseases a thing of the past, and strongly encouraged research and development efforts dedicated to advancing new treatments, tests and technologies for patients suffering from rare diseases. We are grateful to Senator Bill Monning (D – Carmel) and Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian (R – San Luis Obispo) for their instrumental role in raising rare disease awareness in California via Senate Concurrent Resolution 108, which proclaimed February 29, 2016, as Rare Disease Day in California and provides for the recognition of Rare Disease Day in California in subsequent years.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Partnering Day Begins March 21

Our Partnering Day series is back by popular demand! On March 21-22, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) will be meeting with select organizations to discuss potential partnership and collaboration opportunities. If you are interested in meeting with Bristol-Myers Squibb, please submit your application here. There will also be a reception and two plenaries that are open to employees of bioscience companies, should you be interested in networking with Bristol-Myers Squibb and others in the Bay Area life sciences community.

Congratulations to Our Spring 2016 FAST participants

The California Life Sciences Institute has selected five innovative startups to participate in the Spring 2016 FAST Program: Circularis, Eidos Therapeutics, Ligandal, Paragon Genomics, and Shasqi. The five companies will begin 12 weeks of intensive team advising later this month.  Congratulations to these groundbreaking companies!

Be sure to stay connected with us at, and follow us @CALifeSciences,FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube.

Sara Radcliffe
President & CEO
California Life Sciences Association (CLSA)

PS – Have newsworthy items to submit for consideration for our monthly CLSA Bulletin? Feel free to send those tips to Bianca Leveriza, CLSA’s Associate, Marketing & Events (