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News & Events: Event Archives 2011
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Event Archive 2011

Pub Night

Upwards of 60 people got together on December 6 to network and share holiday cheer at Olive You in downtown Kirkland. WBBA raffled off a bottle of wine as well as a gift certificate for a “power party” at Lucky Strike in Bellevue (valued at $160)! Happy Holidays from the WBBA – see you at our next social event: Bio On the Vine at Matthews Winery in Woodinville on January 19.

Governor’s Life Sciences Summit & Annual Meeting 2011

More than 600 life science community leaders attended the Annual Governor’s Life Sciences Summit and Annual Meeting on Friday, November 18 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, WA.

Translational Medicine: from Bench to Bedside

Event Recap by Drew McUsic

The WBBA event brought together an electrifying combination of representatives from various sectors of translational medicine for presentations and an interactive panel discussion on October 12 at the University of Washington.

Tom Clement, the CEO of startups Cardiac Insight and Aqueduct Neurosciences, opened with a presentation from the perspective of a medical device developer and entrepreneur. Mr. Clement’s previous endeavor, Pathway Medical Technologies, was founded in 1998 and was acquired this past August by Bayer’s Medrad unit for $125 million. Clement contrasted the ease with which Pathway was able to secure its initial finances in a pre-dot com bubble investment environment to the present day fundraising climate, where the first $1-2 million are reachable for medical device development but subsequent rounds can be excruciatingly hard to come by. He re-iterated the strategic translational advantage in developing devices eligible for 510(k) over PMA approval by the FDA for instilling investor confidence that devices will reach the market in a shorter timeframe.

Dr. Jeffrey Herz, scientific founder and CEO of the emerging biopharmaceutical company, Algomedix, Inc., served to represent the plight of industry in early stage discovery and clinical trials, sharing a few relevant statistics and concepts to whet the audience’s appetite for the panel discussion to follow:

  • The current cost to develop a new drug from the bench stage through clinical trials is approximately $1 billion and the process requires 10-12 years.
  • Big Pharma productivity is unrelenting, with roughly 50 new molecular entities (NMEs) discovered every year.
  • Only 6% of oncology drugs in Phase I trials are ultimately approved, primarily due to poor results in cytotoxicity studies- traditionally considered “later stage” concerns.
  • Dr. Herz argued that moving these studies earlier in the drug development process would dramatically accelerate the “weeding out” of cytotoxic NME candidates early, thus reducing costs.

Continuing on this theme, and introducing the related concept of “Phase 0” microdosing clinical trials, Dr. Gary Jones of C3 Research Associates took the converse angle of “from bedside to bench.” Dr. Jones cited C3’s work with Accium Biosciences in microdosing studies for personalized medicine and exploratory IND in the realm of glioblastoma. In this paradigm, a microdose of the candidate drug is administered to a population of end-stage glioblastoma patients to see if there are indications that the drug is performing as expected based on the results of preclinical studies. Dr. Jones illustrated how this model of exploratory IND/Phase 0 aids every step of the translational process:

  • It attracts funding in an academic research context.
  • It provides rare human patient data that is desirable for startup biotech companies.
  • It allows venture capitalists to assess the potential of a drug earlier and at lower cost.
  • It reduces the pharmacological dose and number of human subjects required to identify and approve promising new drugs from an FDA standpoint.

Dr. Michael Gallatin, a Senior Advisor to Frazier Healthcare Ventures with past leadership roles at ICOS, Stromedix, and Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, presented the business perspective of “from bench to market.” Dr. Gallatin posed to the group the important questions of “Who are the buyers?”, “What do the buyers want?”, and “How will you be paid?”, and pointed to a few big picture concepts in the business of translational medicine:

  • Despite clear scientific rationale and a compelling proof-of-concept, many fully approved drugs fail to be “enthusiastically prescribed” by physicians.
  • Despite possessing a commercially viable label, many payers fail to reimburse providers.

To address these shortcomings, Dr. Gallatin proposed:

  • Shape the proof-of-concept around what is feasible in a private, VC-funded environment.
  • Connect with key opinion leader (KOL) physicians early and be creative with them.
  • Consider niche applications of your drug or device to validate your scientific and business mechanism.
  • Create your commercial value proposition early and continually update it.
  • Cultivate a network for external validation of the clinical and commercial potential of your product.
  • Create and maintain a method for storing and rapidly sharing vast amounts of electronic data.

Lastly, Tom Fritz presented the unique perspective of “bedside” as CEO of the Inland Northwest Health Services, a non-profit company that also administers a 102-bed hospital and actively enrolls patients in clinical trials.

Each of these lines of consideration in translational medicine provoked input in the subsequent panel discussion, but a theme in particular emerged around the concept of the Phase 0 trial, suggesting a common level of high interest in its ability to streamline the translation process. The question was posed, “What will be the IRB and regulatory definition of what reaches and improves the standard of care in the Phase 0 context?” Dr. Jones suggested that IRBs are likely to understand that, in dire clinical situations, it is preferable to “do something that is better for the patients” (i.e., approve the Phase 0 study) than to uphold the current standard of care as the best possible treatment option. The major “limitation” of the Phase 0 approach is that, while its results may require re-examination of scientific tactics from a research standpoint, its impressive aptitude for “showing what will fail early” is actually good for business but at odds with the eager attitude of investors and entrepreneurs who want to see positive progress from the beginning.

This event exposed attendees to a wide range of concerns in tackling translational medicine, from close-up, “in the trenches”-style perspectives on discovery and development to comprehensive standpoints in intelligent business leadership and new strategies for improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Download presentation slides

Drew McUsic is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.

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WBBA VIP Forum: Partnering with Bayer HealthCare

Event Recap by Drew McUsic

The WBBA continued its Venture Investment & Partnering (VIP) Forum series with Bayer HealthCare at Seattle BioMed on Wednesday, October 5. Lisa Mendoza and Christopher Haskell of Bayer’s U.S. Science Hub in San Francisco presented background information on the research focus areas of Bayer’s Pharmaceuticals Division, and described potential models for flexible collaboration with partners for “creating value together and sharing in the rewards” in small molecule and biologics commercialization:

  • Licensing: Recent licensing of OncoMed’s anti-cancer biologics is an example of Bayer’s demonstrated interest in developing promising opportunities owned by collaborators.
  • Collaborative Partnerships: Agreements have been signed with university investigators, with each party contributing expertise and resources to discovery and scale-up efforts.
  • Crowd-Sourcing: Approximately 45 projects have been funded through 5 rounds of Grants4Targets, an open call, non-dilutive funding program which aims to support translation of basic research to novel drugs.

Partnering has come to constitute a significant source of capital raised for product development in the last five years, and Bayer intends to collaborate with partners representing early-stage opportunities without plans to absorb them later. Bayer is interested in drugs with or without intellectual property protection and may also consider collaboration within its internal Common Mechanism Research, a branch which seeks relevant new targets for already discovered pharmaceuticals.

Drew McUsic is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.

Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine: Today and Tomorrow

Event Recap by Drew McUsic

Stem cells hold the promise of ushering in a new era of regenerative medicine, as significant progress has recently been made in directing these powerful cells towards becoming drug screening models and replacements for failing tissues. Business development executives, entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, and research scientists packed the Orin Smith Auditorium at the University of Washington’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (UW-ISCRM) for this important half-day symposium to review progress and discuss the future of stem cell therapy.

ISCRM’s celebrated co-director and esteemed clinician/researcher, Chuck Murry, kicked off the morning with a keynote address highlighting some of Seattle’s most exciting research breakthroughs that are likely to be among the first applications of stem cell therapy to make it to market. Citing extensive collaborations between the UW-ISCRM, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB), Benaroya Research Institute, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), Murry argued that Seattle’s strength lies in its foundation as a world class stem cell community paired with its exuberant entrepreneurial spirit, but that significant private sector involvement in the form of capital investment would be key to translating advanced cell therapy programs into commercializable biomedical products.

Following brief technical research summaries presented by eight preeminent stem cell investigators, hematopoietic stem cell trailblazer Irv Bernstein of FHCRC/UW moderated a panel discussion (“Today’s Tech for Tomorrow’s Start-Ups”) featuring the investigators. At least 3 spin-out companies founded on ground-breaking research from the panelists were mentioned, some already with customers. Key points that emerged from the discussion included:

  • While pre-clinical stem cell research is well funded by NIH, the costs of cGMP manufacturing and clinical trials cannot adequately be supported by federal dollars or a cautious Big Pharma industry. This suggests a role for startups in pushing stem cell treatments into mainstream use.
  • The future of monoclonal antibodies for use as pharmaceuticals was imperiled 20 years ago by similar challenges in manufacturing and regulation, but ultimately the promise of the field prevailed.
  • Fostering academic collaboration can be difficult when competing interests are present. To address this, the NIH and other funding agencies have established initiatives to collaboratively fund projects across multiple institutions. Many of the panelists mentioned how their work has benefitted from these initiatives.

After a short intermission, attendees returned to hear “Recipes for Success”, a lively panel discussion moderated by Andrew Serafini of Fenwick & West featuring representatives from industry (Geron, Fate Therapeutics, and MPI Research), UW’s C4C, and OVP Venture Partners (Carl Weissman). The dialogue touched upon these salient topics:

  • A few short years ago, stem cell science was so new that the FDA was not conversant in the space. Now, because of Geron and others’ IND proposals, significant progress has been made within the FDA in understanding and effectively regulating stem cell treatments.
  • There are benefits and drawbacks to collaborating with industry. Aside from the catalyzing effect a company environment can have in facilitating translation, industry can provide scale-up and manufacturing platforms - endeavors often underappreciated or impossible in academic environments.
  • Initiating collaboration between academic researchers and industry may be as much a question of “When?” as it is a question of “How?”. Forming relationships with industrial partners early can nurture discourse that informs research towards more commercializable endpoints.

This event reinforced how Washington state’s research institutions and entrepreneurial environment are exceptionally poised to perform collaborative, cutting-edge stem cell and regenerative medicine research and transition it to useful clinical therapies.

The WBBA symposium Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine: Today and Tomorrow was held on Tuesday September 20, 2011 at the University of Washington’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine.

Drew McUsic is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington.

Read more from Drew McUsic in Xconomy: Stem Cell Therapy: A Process With a Promise

Read more about the event in the Puget Sound Business Journal: Could Seattle lead way in turning stem cells into cures?  

VIP Forum with Merck Global Health Innovation

WBBA’s Venture Investment and Partnering (VIP) Forum proudly presented Driving Healthcare Innovation Through Venturing: Introducing Merck Global Health Innovation on Tuesday, August 23.  Merck Global Health Innovation (GHI) seeks to identify new business models and adjacency opportunities in the healthcare marketplace that may not fit immediately into Merck's traditional pharmaceutical and vaccine business units. This includes service solutions, products and technology.  If you missed the presentation, you can view the slides online.  Thank you to our host Seattle BioMed for the generous use of their meeting space!

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WBBA's Seventh Annual Golf Invitational

Think Masters, US Open, British Open, PGA Championship - the holy grail of golf! WBBA's Seventh Annual Golf Invitational, the only funding event of 2011 directly benefiting the industry's political action committee - the WBBA BIOPAC, was held August 15 at the Fairwood Golf & Country Club in Renton.

Over 100 golfers enjoyed a perfect August day on the course. Congratulations to the winning foursome of Rich Able, Fernando Da Silva, Jason Hamilton, and John Peterson! Additional prizes were given to golfers with the longest drive, closest to the pin, putting, and Beat the Pro! A silent auction was held to raise additional funds for the Biopac. Thank you to all of our item donors and purchasers. Don't miss the fun and fantastic golf next year!  View the photo album

Thank you to the Golf Committee and Co-chairs, Kristen Beaulieu and Ryan Murphy both from Wells Fargo Insurance Services, for their dedication to this event. Other members of the committee included Jason Berger, Sheri' DuMond, and Pete Maslenikov.

The tournament would not be possible without our sponsors and we would like to thank our Luncheon sponsor - Biomed Realty Trust; Photo sponsor - Seed IP Law Group PLLC; our first year ever Shirt Sponsor – Fenwick & West; Golf Cart sponsor – BNBuilders, Inc.; 150-Yard Sign sponsor - Pacific Biomarkers, Inc.; and Skilled Hole Sponsors – Skanska, Turner Construction and Wells Fargo Insurance Services; and our Hole Sponsors – BIO, Fenwick & West, Chubb & Son, Biomedical Device Innovation Zone, The Next Fifty; and a big hit our first ever Latte Cart sponsor – Navigators Life Sciences.

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2011 WBBA and LSDF Open House

 The Life Sciences Discovery Fund and the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association hosted their 3rd Annual Open House on Thursday, August 11.

At this late afternoon open house with lovely views of Lake Union, guests had the opportunity to meet LSDF grantees, trustees, donors and staff; WBBA board and executive committee members and staff; state and federal legislators; and life sciences executives from across Washington state.

The event showcased LSDF grantees and the positive economic and health impacts they are having in Washington state and beyond.

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13th Annual Summer Social

Oh,  what a night!  The Shilshole Bay Beach Club was hopping with the beat of the steel drum band and 200 life sciences partners and friends on July 14, 2011.  Crazy tropical shirts were donned and sponsor displays were as creative as ever.  Visit WBBA on Facebook to enjoy the photos of the event- thanks to FatYeti Photography.

‘What a lovely event it was! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was pleased with the opportunities I had to meet and talk with others in the industry. Nicely done!’
-Sandi Tennyson, Axio Research

Thank you to our always supportive and invaluable sponsors:

Beverage Sponsor
Seed IP Law Group PLLC

Music Sponsor

Classic Sponsors

Airgas Specialty Gas Division
Atossa Genetics
Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
BNBuilders, Inc.
Employer Resources Northwest


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QuakeHOLD! Industrial
Wells Fargo Insurance Services
WBBA BioPac Golf Tournament
Women in Bio


4th Annual Life Sciences Leadership Summit-2011

The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association and our partners, Greater Spokane Incorporated, Inland Northwest Health Services and Washington State University, hosted more than 80 leaders from across the state to discuss strategies to help continue the growth of Washington’s life science and enhance competitiveness. The event was held at Washington State University, Spokane on Wednesday, June 15.

The full-day conference brought leaders from across the state to share knowledge about major life science activities and initiatives. Life sciences is now one of Washington’s top 5 sectors, and one of its’ fastest growing and most promising for the future of our state’s economy and citizens. Leaders in the industry agree that by working together, we can fully realize the future opportunities of this sector, collectively facilitating the translation of breakthrough discoveries to better health solutions.   READ MORE | DOWNLOAD PRESENTION SLIDES | THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS

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Improving Health Care through Advances in Electronics, and Medical Devices and Diagnostics

Advances in semiconductors, imaging modalities, and other electronics are enabling medical devices to improve the health care of the active, the elderly, and those living in remote regions. Experts from UW, Texas Instruments, Cardiac Science, SonoSite and MPI Research lead an insightful and interactive discussion on how the latest medical devices are changing lives on a global scale.

Discussion included:

  • Global Health/Telemedicine – How advances in electronics are bringing health care to remote regions.
  • Patient Monitoring - How miniaturization of electronics have made patient monitoring devices more portable and affordable.
  • Non-invasive/translational imaging modalities that improve medical care and diagnostics
  • “A lot of good information from a wide range of expertise.” - Post-event survey respondent

The interactive display allowed attendees to explore new devices including:

  • Implantable cardiac defibrillator
  • Implantable neuro-stimulator
  • Body fat meter
  • Pulse oximeter
  • Nike pedometer/iPod

Eighty attendees including medical device and diagnostics innovators, health information technology (HIT) and other medical software diagnostics leaders, academics, researchers and individuals interested in learning about the future of medical devices joined the panel for the presentation and discussion on Wednesday, May 11, 2011.  Our post event survey elicited the following from an attendee:

“I really enjoyed the range of companies and institutions represented. Everyone on the panel seemed to have an expert opinion.”

The panel was comprised of the following experts:

  • Matt O’Donnell, Ph.D. (Moderator), Dean, College of Engineering, University of Washington
  • Gust Bardy, MD, Director, Innovation Center, Cardiac Science Corp.
  • Diku Mandavia, MD, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, SonoSite, Inc.
  • Glenn J. Smits, Ph.D., Vice President, Discovery Center, MPI Research
  • Patrick Sullivan, Product Line Manager, Medical Products, Texas Instruments, Inc.
  • Paul Yager, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington
Thank you to our sponsors:

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Preparing For New Health Care Market Realities: A Comparative Effectiveness Symposium

Can we learn lessons from Sir Ernest Shackleton and his heroic trans-Atlantic expedition in the Endurance?  Is navigating the FDA and CMS comparable to Shackleton's voyage on the James Caird and crossing of South Georgia Island?  Sean Tunis, MD, MSc - Founder and Director, Center for Medical Technology Policy; Former Chief Medical Officer, CMS presented the similiarities in a highly informative and engaging presentation to nearly 130 interested individuals on April 28, 2011.  Dr. Tunis was the first speaker at this half-day symposium that considered the forces shaping the market changes, the implications for companies and institutions, and the resources and expertise available to decision-makers as releated to the prediction that the fee-for-service approach to paying for health care in the U.S. will be dramatically altered or eliminated much sooner than previously expected.

View Dr. Tunis' Clinical Development in the Emerging Context of Health Reform presentation slides.

Mitchell Higashi, PhD, MBA - Chief Economist, GE Healthcare took the podium next and presented ideas surrounding scenario planning for a world without Fee-For-Service, creating a resilient business strategy, potential triggering events and his recommendations about  how products, services, investments, partnerships and trials will need to accommodate new market realities.

View Dr. Higashi's CER as a Resilient Business Strategy presentation slides.

The audience was clearly engaged and eager to learn more as Sean Sullivan, PhD - Professor of Pharmacy and Public Health, Director-Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program, Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington, led the Q&A with the keynote speakers.

Next, a panel of local innovators, moderated by Larry Kessler, ScD - Professor and Chair, Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of Washington, presented their specific views on how the new market realities may impact their organizations, employees, and patients .  Panelists included Roki Chauhan, MD - Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Premera Blue Cross; Richard Cooper - CEO, The Everett Clinic; and Caroline Whalen - Chief Administrative Officer, King County.

Did you know that there is a regional resource that is addressing what works in health care? David Flum, MD- Professor of Surgery, Adjunct Professor of Public Health and Pharmacy, University of Washington brought to light the CHASE Alliance:  Developed to facilitate multidisciplinary, high impact comparative and systems effectiveness research and implementation. The CHASE Alliance consists of UW researchers and community partners interested in comparative effectiveness research, health disparities, health system evaluation, technology assessment, patient-centered outcomes, economic evaluation, and dissemination and translation. The mission of the UW CHASE Alliance is to provide the multidisciplinary, collaborative environment required for the successful conduct and implementation of comparative effectiveness research in today's and tomorrow's complex health care system.  The CHASE Alliance is available to you! 

View Dr. Flum's CHASE Alliance – A Regional Resource for Addressing What Works in Health-Care presentation slides.

What's next?  Results from an interactive audience poll show that there is more to learn and discuss on this relevant and timely topic.  Stay tuned for future WBBA events!

Download the program and speaker bios

Download additional event summary and survey results

Thank you to our symposium sponsors: 


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Pub Night

On April 14, the WBBA hosted a kick off to baseball season pub night at Pyramid Brewery in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle. Close to 100 people gathered to celebrate the start of spring and baseball weather (which was the same as winter weather this year!) As always, everyone had a great time and enjoyed great pub food provided by our pub night sponsor, Airgas.

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A Leadership Summit: Leading with International Markets for Medical Technology Commercialization – Boom or Bust?

On April 7, 2011, the University of Washington Bothell, the University of Washington Professional & Continuing Education and the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA) proudly presented the summit which was attended by more than 80 medical technology executives, board members and investors.

In today’s regulatory and economic landscape, the traditional approach of avoiding international markets until U.S. market penetration may not be successful. This event focused on the strategic decision-making process for leading with international markets, which could result in wild success (boom) or company failure (bust).

Read Luke Timmerman's article Evolve or Die: Versant’s Beckie Robertson on Four Ways Med Device Companies Can Survive | Xconomy

The FDA Impact on U.S. Medical Technology Innovation: A Survey of Over 200 Medical Technology Companies was distributed.  The executive summary from the survey states:

"Over the past few years, the manner in which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is executing its authority over the regulation of medical devices in the U.S. has been called into question. While some have claimed that current regulatory requirements are lax and arming patients, independent analysis has demonstrated that the current system does an exceptional job of protecting patients.  However, with regard to the agency’s objective of promoting the public health through new innovations, there are increasing concerns from patients, physicians, and innovators that the FDA is falling short. Until now, little (if any) data has been produced to either validate or refute these concerns."

Download the survey

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Life Science Innovation Northwest

On March 2, 2011 the life sciences community from 20 states, Washington, D.C., and 14 countries -- including Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Japan, Poland and the United Kingdom -- attended Life Science Innovation Northwest held in Seattle.  Read more

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P4 Medicine: Why Seattle is Leading the Charge

On Wednesday, January 11, 2011, 75 life sciences professionals gathered at the Institute for Systems Biology to particpate in a panel discussion and presentations focused on P4 Medicine.  Personalized medicine is a young but rapidly advancing field of healthcare that is informed by each person's unique clinical, genetic, genomic, and environmental information. Because these factors are different for every person, the nature of diseases—including their onset, their course, and how they might respond to drugs or other interventions—is as individual as the people who have them.

P4 Medicine is a term coined by biologist Leroy Hood, and is short for "Predictive, Preventive, Personalized, and Participatory Medicine." The premise of P4 Medicine is that, over the next 20 years, medical practice will be revolutionized by biotechnology, to manage a person's health, instead of manage a patient's disease.

 The esteemed presenters included Leroy Hood, MD, President, Institute for Systems Biology;  Brad Gray, President and CEO, NanoString Technologies and  Fred Lee, MD, Managing Director and Chief Medical Officer for P4MI.

Download Bios

Presentation slides- Hood | Presentation slides- Gray | Presentation slides- Lee

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2011 Event Archives

Dec. 6 Holiday Pub Night
Nov. 18: Governor’s Life Sciences Summit & Annual Meeting 2011
Oct. 12: Translational Medicine: from Bench to Bedside
Oct 5: WBBA VIP Forum: Partnering with Bayer HealthCare
Sep 20: Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine: Today and Tomorrow
Aug. 23: VIP Forum with Merck Global Health Innovation
Aug. 15: 7th Annual Biopac Golf Tournament
Aug. 11: WBBA and LSDF Open House
July 14: 2011 Summer Social
June 15: 4th Annual Life Sciences Leadership Summit-2011
May 11: Improving Health Care through Advances in Electronics, and Medical Devices and Diagnostics
Apr. 27: Preparing For New Health Care Market Realities: A Comparative Effectiveness Symposium
Apr. 14: Pub Night
Apr. 7: A Leadership Summit: Leading with International Markets for Medical Technology Commercialization – Boom or Bust?
Mar. 2-3: Life Science Innovation Northwest
Jan. 19: P4 Medicine: Why Seattle is Leading the Charge

2010 Archives

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2016 Summer Social Round-up

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