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BioCommunique Article

A Biocom California Roundtable with Newly Elected San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria

A Biocom California Roundtable with Newly Elected San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria

  • 2021-01-21T20:00:00.000+0000
  • San Diego
  • Author: Melanie Cohn

“In a year where we’ve seen so many disappointments, it’s been science that’s guided us through.”

This past December, days before his official swearing in ceremony, then Mayor-Elect Todd Gloria joined Biocom California member executives from San Diego life science companies virtually to discuss their organizations’ efforts in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Gloria, along with his Chief of Staff, Paola Avila, and Senior Policy Advisor, Steve Hill, hoped that his meeting with key life science executives in his first week of office was telling – that his team will be proactive and accessible when working with our industry. He expressed extreme gratitude to this industry, mentioning, “In a year where we’ve seen so many disappointments, it’s been science that’s guided us through.” He gave a nod to San Diego’s entrepreneurial spirit, and reminded everyone that San Diego is no longer a small town, but a much larger city now, competing on a national and international basis. And after years of working side by side with Biocom California in his various elected roles, Mayor Gloria quipped that if Joe’s (Panetta) telling him he’s going somewhere and needs Mayor Gloria to close the deal, he’s in.

The panel portion of the webinar then kicked off with opening remarks from Biocom California CEO, Joe Panetta, acknowledging the burgeoning excitement around the creation of a downtown San Diego life science hub, an introduction to Biocom California’s incoming Board Chair and DEI Committee Chair, Rich Pascoe, and a heartfelt appreciation for Tim Scott’s efforts this past year as head of Biocom California’s Return to Work Task Force and incoming chair-elect.

As a long-time member of Biocom California, Rich Pascoe, CEO of Histogen, which hopes to get into the clinic early this year, recalled first meeting Mayor Gloria at a Biocom California event, and credited the life science organization as helping to bring more of a global presence to San Diego.

Tim Scott, CEO & Co-Founder of Tega Therapeutics, saying the new title “Mayor Gloria” out loud for the first time, spoke to the innovation in the Biocom California membership in the fight against COVID-19, both directly and indirectly. As leader of the Return to Work Task Force, Tim heard from a lot of our members who needed help figuring out how to facilitate the continuation of essential lab work safely and efficiently. Tim credited the life science industry’s profile as ‘rule followers’ and ‘appreciators of a good SOP’ to the ability to quickly put together a 100-page guide that others even outside of the industry could use as a model for preparing the workplace and the workforce in these unprecedented times.

Mayor Gloria and his staff were then introduced to nine Biocom California member CEOs and Public Affairs executives from San Diego life science companies that are actively working to combat COVID-19, including Joe Payne, President & CEO of Arcturus Therapeutics; Dr. Wolfgang Glaesner, Chief Scientific Officer of Eli Lilly & Company; Kevin Thornal, Division President of Diagnostic Solutions at Hologic; Dr. Kate Broderick, Sr. VP R&D at Inovio Pharmaceuticals; Matt Foehr, President & COO of Ligand Pharmaceuticals; Donna Kaylor, Director of Government Relations & Public Affairs at Pfizer; Dr. Henry Ji, Chairman & CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics; Dr. Amy Butler, President of Biosciences of Thermo Fisher Scientific; and Dr. Stephen Spector, UC San Diego Health Pediatrics & PI for Moderna COVID-19 clinical trial.

Biocom California thanks all industry leaders for participating in this valuable conversation and shedding light and thought on their collective role in the path forward. We appreciate Mayor Gloria’s leadership and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with his office. Although there is still a long road ahead, we can remain encouraged by the life science community and its efforts to bring hope and resolve to the world today, and always.