SoCalBio Weekly Update -- February 19, 2008
Editor: Ahmed A. Enany

From the Lab Bench

  • UCLA's Researchers Reprogram Skin Cells to Behave Like Embryonic Stem Cells 
    In their paper, published in the latest early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, Katherine Prath and William Lowery confirm the work of researchers Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University and James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin, who first reported such advance in November 2007 ... read abstract
  • Mitochondrial DNA Mutations Can Cause Degenerative Heart and Muscle Disease
    A single change in the DNA of mitochondria – the cellular power plants that generate energy in all human cells – has been found to cause degenerative heart and muscle disease, according to University of California, Irvine research team led by by Douglas Wallace (photo right), director of the Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and Genetics at UC Irvine .. read more

Company & Industry Headlines

  • Artificial Retinal Implant Project Grows
    University of Southern California and Second Sight Medical Products (Sylmar), the developer of retinal prostheses for treating blindness, are expanding the clinical trial of an advanced retinal prosthesis into Europe more
  • Amgen CEO: Bone Drug Started With a ‘Really Big Mouse’
    Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer touted the company's chances in developing denosumab (D-mab) into a badly needed blockbuster. The discovery program began in an Amgen lab when researchers observed that one of the knockout mice it had developed during gene disabling research work had grown huge. ... read more
  • Two Southland Firms Fight Over Percutaneous Heart Valve Technology
    The Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences, which dominates the market for replacement heart valves, filed a patent-infringement suit against CoreValve (also in Irvine) on Tuesday in Delaware. At issue is technology that both companies have developed for implanting replacement heart valves through catheters, without major surgery. CoreValve
    refutes alleged patent infringement action by Edwards.
  • Edwards Lifesciences Realigns Business
    Company announced on February 18 that it plans to realign its company into a business unit organizational structure and said corporate officers -- Anita Bessler, Stuart Foster, and Alex Martin -- will be leaving the company in the middle of 2008 ... read press release
  • ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Completes Acquisition of Molecular Antibody Technology
    The technology acquired by the Los Angeles-based company consists of (i) a platform technology for the potentially rapid discovery of monoclonal antibodies to detect and treat cancer and other chronic diseases and (ii) certain monoclonal antibody candidates for the potential detection and treatment of multiple myeloma, small cell lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancers ... read press release
  • Mentor Announces an Alliance with Le Mystere and Launches an Online Resource on Breast Augmentation and Cosmetic Procedures
    The Santa Barbara-based breast implant maker
    unveiled a partnership with Le Mystčre on a variety of marketing and educational initiatives targeting women who are considering breast surgery. This move follows Mentor's launch of an online educational resource for women considering breast augmentation and other cosmetic procedures at

Other News

Upcoming Business Mixer

February 21, 2008
7:00 – 9:30 am
UCI University Club (Irvine, CA)

SoCalBio Networking Forum

Can Less be More? 
The Advantages and Challenges of Operating Virtually

These days, an increasing number of biotech and device companies -- often with prodding from the venture capitalists who back them -- are operating virtually on the premise that less can be more. Join us for a discussion by local device and biotech firms of the advantages and challenges of the virtual mode of doing business.


  • Frank Ahmann, Chief Operating Officer, Symphony Medical (Laguna Niguel)
  • Alan H. Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer, Cougar Biotechnology (West Los Angeles)
  • Mick Gallagher, Managing Partner, LS Technologies (Fallbrook)
  • D. Verne Sharma, Director, Visitome (Irvine)
  • Susan Wong, Head of Life Science Practice, LS Technologies (Fallbrook)

Upcoming Conference

February 29, 2008
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wilshire Grand Hotel, Los Angeles
Click Here to RSVP

2nd SoCalBio Human Resources  Conference

SoCalBio has assembled an impressive roster of over 20 outstanding keynote speakers and panelists who will tackle human resources issues of relevance to small and mid-size biotech and device companies, from the role of HR in creating a competitive edge, new educational and workforce training initiatives in Southern California, to practical tips on avoiding the top reasons companies get sued because of HR matters. 

Recommended Events

Advance Your Career

Business Strategy for Senior HR Leaders

March 3-6, 2008
Rady School of Management, UC San Diego

This is the last U.S. offering by world renowned expert Dr. Phil Parker. Become a major player at both the strategic and functional level in your company by aligning HR tactics with your CEO's corporate vision.

HRCI Approved: 27.75 recertification hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR. 

SoCalBio members receive $300 discount, (promotion code: socalbio). Additional information and online registration:

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About SoCalBio

The Southern California Biomedical Council (SCBC or SoCalBio) is a nonprofit, member-supported trade association that promotes biomedical and life science research, development, manufacturing and overall economic development in Los Angeles, Orange County and adjacent communities.

The organizations programs assist local firms in accessing capital, potential partners and business support services. They also promote technology transfer and workforce training and educate the public and policy makers about the economic and social benefits of the life-science industry.

Southern California