President’s Message – Q2 2019

By: Mike Guerra
CLSA President & CEO

June 26, 2019 

As you will see in the highlights below, CLSA is analyzing the unmet needs of our community and changing the parameters of what our members and the greater California life sciences community should expect from a trade association partner.

This past quarter, CLSA elected new board officers, including Melinda Richter, Global Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS as Board Chair; Alex Kelly, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Chief Communications Officer, Allergan as Vice Chair; and Jeff Jonker, President & CEO of Ambys Medicines as Treasurer. Bruce Jenett, Senior Counsel, DLA Piper continues to serve as Secretary. CLSA’s Board of Directors represent the full range and strength of the life sciences sector in California and play an integral role in setting our organizational focus and direction.

If you have questions about upcoming programs or other CLSA activities, you may reach me directly at


Mike Guerra

President & Chief Executive Officer
California Life Sciences Association

CLSA’s Key 3:

ADVOCATE:  CLSA hosted our annual Spring Reception & Dinner at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill, followed by our Congressional Advocacy Day where members of our board met with key legislators and senior staff on issues of importance to California’s biomedical innovation ecosystem. CLSA and a multi-stakeholder coalition also succeeded in advancing legislation strengthening our national biomedical preparedness to the President’s desk, sent feedback to the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees on draft legislation to reform Medicare Part D, and submitted supportive comments on a new SEC proposal to provide small and emerging companies regulatory relief from burdensome requirements under Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404(b). At the State level, CLSA helped lead the charge to defeat two bills restricting research education using animals, and advocated for a number of proposals included in Assembly Bill 74, the Budget Act of 2019, which was adopted by the California Legislature.
CONNECT: On August 13, CLSA will host An Evening with Thought Leaders, bringing together on one stage the leaders of four national life sciences trade associations to discuss the State of the Sector: Policy, Leadership & Direction. James C. Greenwood, President & CEO of BIO; Stephen J. Ubl, President & CEO of PhRMA; Janet Trunzo, Sr. Advisor to the Presdient, Sr. EVP, Technology & Regulatory Affairs of AdvaMed; and Mark Leahey, President & CEO of MDMA will share their expert analysis and predictions for 2020 and beyond in a panel discussion moderated by Melinda Richter, CLSA Board Chair and Global Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation | JLABS.  

CLSA has partnered with Brex to launch a unique new funding resource, a new corporate credit card specifically tailored for companies in the life sciences industry that includes exclusive reward benefits for CLSA members and  instant online underwriting that accounts for both grant and venture funding from life sciences founders and entrepreneurs.
INNOVATE: CLSI welcomed approximately 200 guests to its first International Showcase which featured presentations from five of the Bay Area’s most promising life sciences startups as well as some of the most exciting technologies from companies in Canada, Scandinavia and the UK, all of whom have been through CLSI’s FAST or FAST International. Read More in BioSpace. View photos.

CLSI’s 2019 BioGENEius winner, Las Lomas High School 10th grader Melanie Quan of Alamo, CA, was awarded one of two “highest honors” at the International BioGENEius Challenge, announced at the 2019 BIO International Convention.