In The News

AHL Interviews Jay Lichter, Bringing NewCos to San Diego

American Healthcare Leader (AHL) interviewed Jay Lichter, Ph.D., to talk to him about why he built a different kind of incubator to start companies in San Diego.

About ten years ago, when Jay was a partner at Avalon Ventures and CEO of several small companies, he decided to co-locate these organizations in one space to save himself time.  He also found it saved money by sharing resources.  In addition, he saw that the management oversight by the investor is streamlined and provides key operational resources.

Although the shared-resource incubator idea behind COI Pharmaceuticals started out of convenience, it has since grown to be fully integrated organization with more than 70 scientists working across at least a dozen biotech startups.

Jay tells AHL, “It’s not like a typical incubator where you have six months of cash to pay the rent. It has to be part of the Avalon and COI I portfolio. So, it’s operational venture capital: we invest in companies, we run the companies, we keep track of them nearly on a daily basis, and we help the management team partner or sell or finance if necessary.”

While COI Pharma only houses portfolio companies, Jay and his team are always looking at new scientific and technologic breakthroughs that could be translated into important medical products.

Jay says, “We’re really focusing on bringing new companies to San Diego with novel, interesting technologies across both sciences and tech.”

In the article, Jay outlines the steps of how to pitch a breakthrough idea for investment, and how that has led to founding and investing in disruptive companies, like AristaMD, Avelas Biosciences, Cellular Approaches, and Synthorx.