That’s a wrap on 2018…hello 2019!

2018 was a great year for COI startups.  Here were our company milestones, funding successes, honors and more.

Money raises

It seems 2018 was Synthorx’s year. With its new president and CEO, Laura Shawver, the synthetic biology startup raised a $63 million series C financing round. The news was announced in May and covered by Endpoints News, FierceBiotech, MedCity News, The San Diego Union-Tribune and Xconomy.

Six months later, Synthorx filed for a $100 million initial public offering (IPO), highlighting the incredible growth the company has achieved in the four years since it was spun out of the Scripps Research Institute and into COI.

Company milestones

Avelas Biosciences started the year with a bang, announcing on January 4 the completion of a 30-person enrollment period in its Phase 2 clinical trial of AVB-620 in women with primary, nonrecurrent breast cancer.

Towards the end of the year, Fortis Therapeutics announced that it had secured a green light from the FDA to advance to human trials with its novel Anti-CD46 therapeutic in late-stage prostate cancer and multiple myeloma respectively. (For more background on Fortis, check out BioSpace’s “What You Need to Know About Fortis Therapeutics” article from January.)

Twenty Jayteen

COI’s co-founder and long-term CEO Jay Lichter shared his wisdom with various reporters and experts throughout the year.

American Health Leader profiled his work in June, emphasizing COI’s role in attracting talented startups to the San Diego region.

— That same month, SD Voyager published a Jay Q&A, looking back to the history of COI and its formation.

He was also quoted in various stories and opinion pieces, including one on mega funding rounds (Endpoints News) and another on the amount of money pouring into oncology programs (MedCity News).

Other COI executives were recognized for their expertise as well. VP of Human Resources and Administration Fran Senchak shared her story for a San Diego Magazine feature on women in business. And in March 2018, Tighe Reardon was selected as a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Award. 

Not a bad place to work…

One unique aspect of COI is its commitment to fostering a healthy team environment and work-life balance.

This was exemplified by one portfolio company, AristaMD, which made the Forbes list of “highest-rated companies for work-life balance in 2018.” The healthcare startup was one of 10 small to mid-sized companies on the list and the only from Southern California.

That’s not to say that the other community members stuck to their desks and lab benches. A variety of activities and events were planned and well-attended throughout the year — but the creme de la creme, as always, was the Tour de COI.

We’ll leave you with a few group shots from that and see you in 2019!