WHENMay 20, 2015 @ 8:00am - 5:00pm

The 16th SABPA Entrepreneur Symposium

When:       4:45 pm to 8:00 pm, Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Where:      11120 Roselle St, San Diego, CA 92121

Conference rooms: Union Station & Grand Central


Presentation #1:  Reflections on My 3 year Mission as CEO of Ambit

Ambit Biosciences was founded in 2001, and merged with Daiichi Sankyo in November, 2014. Mr. Martino joined as CEO in November, 2011. As CEO, he guided the company’s development from private to public to the merger, and oversaw the development of the company’s lead asset, quizartinib, from Phase 2a to Phase 3. In his brief talk he will share reflections from his 3 year mission to develop the team, the pipeline and create value for shareholders.

Speaker:  Michael A. Martino, Former President & CEO of Ambit Biosciences

Mike Martino was most recently President & CEO of Ambit Biosciences from Nov, 2011 to Jan, 2015, when he departed following the acquisition of Ambit by Daiichi Sankyo. Under his leadership, the Ambit team negotiated an amicable conclusion to a legacy collaborative development agreement with Astellas, concluded a Series E financing, completed the company’s initial public offering, initiated a registrational Phase 3 trial for their lead drug, Quizartinib, and successfully closed the transaction with Daiichi Sankyo in Nov, 2014. Over Mr. Martino’s tenure at Ambit, the team raised nearly $115M in new equity capital, not including the Daiichi Sankyo transaction. Previously, Mr. Martino also worked at Arzeda, a synthetic biology company, and was President & CEO of Sonus Pharmaceuticals, a publicly-traded company located in Bothell, WA.

Presentation #2: Entrepreneurship as a Career Choice for Innovators

In this talk, Dr. Li will tell the story of starting Nexcelom Bioscience, a life science tools company, and share how decisions have been made to start Nexcelom more than 10 years ago, and to develop Nexcelom into a global industry leader in cell counting and analysis, based on innovative image cytometry technologies.

Speaker:  Peter Li, President of CEO at Nexcelom Bioscience

Dr. Li is a co-founder and CEO of Nexcelom Bioscience, which develops and markets Cellometer® brand image-based cell counters and analysis systems and Celigo® Adherent Cell Cytometers for the life science market. Under Dr. Li’s leadership, Nexcelom Bioscience was honored as an Inc 500 Company in 2009, as one of fastest growing private companies in America by Inc Magazine. Headquartered in the Boston area, Nexcelom Bioscience now serves pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and academic researchers, through its world-wide sites in Bethesda, San Diego, Manchester (UK) and Shanghai (China).


4:45 to 6:00 pm: Reception and Networking

6:00 to 6:10 pm: Welcome and Announcements

6:10 to 7:00 pm: Presentation #1 and Q&A

7:00 to 7:45 pm: Presentation #2 and Q&A

7:45 to 8:00 pm: Networking


The registration has been closed.


More than 80 scientists, entrepreneurs and professionals attended the 16th SABPA Entrepreneur Forum which was held at Union Station & Grand Central Conference room on May 20th 2015. The symposium was chaired by Dr. Tianlun Wang, VP and Chair of Entrepreneur Committee, SABPA. Dr. Yahu Liu briefly introduced SABPA’s coming events in 2015.  The two speakers are representatives of successful bioentrepreneurs in San Diego.


The first speaker was Mr. Michael Martino, who shared with us his story of a three-year mission since 2011 as the CEO of Ambit Biosciences during his 35 years of experience in technology-focused business. Especially notable in his term of CEO was a successful turnaround of the company, which before Mr. Martino joined just had its IPO pulled and its lead compound AC220 halted before entering Phase II. Taking advantage of the JOBS Act, Mr. Martino managed to re-launch the IPO that funded the development of AC220, a promising AML drug candidate, all the way to Phase III and gaining orphan drug designation, which finally led to the acquisition of Ambit Biosciences by Daiichi Sankyo. He attributed such a big success to the art of fund raising, the thrust of which, as he pointed out, is being consistent, with yourself, employees and investors. As for the lessons learned in such a process, Mr. Martino summarized them into four core issues that he cared so much: 1) crucial personal characters such as integrity, sense of urgency and resilience; 2) making a difference by focusing on creating value for patient, user and payer; 3) applying a high-quality system or model for decision-making; 4) always relentlessly managing three closely interrelated things, i.e. time, money and credibility.


Following that was the second talk given by Dr. Peter Li, Founder and CEO of Nexcelom Bioscience, a global leading tool company in cell counting and analysis. Starting from a real basement in 2003, Nexcelom made a major disruption in the field of cell counting tools by developing the disposal and automatic Cellometer in replace of the outdated and labor-intensive hemacytometer, which brought the company from a small family workshop to being honored as an Inc. 500 company in 2009, and now going global and having acquired product pipelines to make more sophisticated cell analysis equipments. Rather than asking the question of how to survive the fierce competition in a limited market, Dr. Li argued that the life science industry is always open to absorb new and innovative products. Besides, helping each other and your customers, in his opinion, should be the core value of his company, instead of focusing on competition. He sticks to such basic elements of his company as fulfilling customer needs, product-based business and sustainable growth, i.e. investing your profit onto people and technology. Such is Dr. Li’s choice of an entrepreneur career for innovators and a company’s tenet of “Better Tools for Better Biology for Better Life”.

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