Turning innovation into successful business: Story of Advanced Cell Diagnostics and Kenson Ventures

Date: September 10, 2016 @ 1:00 pm – @ 3:30 pm
Location: Morrison Foerster office in Palo Alto (755 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA)

Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Inc. (ACD) is a leader in the emerging field of molecular pathology, developing cell- and tissue-based diagnostic tests for personalized medicine. The recent ACD acquisition by Bio-Techne (here)  is probably the largest M&A for a biotech tool company founded by a Chinese American scientist in the US biotech area. ACD's proprietary RNAscope┬« Technology is a multiplex fluorescent and chromogenic in situ hybridization platform that is capable of detecting and quantifying RNA biomarkers in situ at single molecule sensitivity. In this special workshop, we will hear from the founder and CEO of ACD, Dr. Yuling Luo, and Dr. Ken Fong from Kenson Venture, who has helped shepherd ACD from its inception to acquisition.  

Presentation: my learnings from three startups

Yuling Luo, PhD

Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Advanced Cell Diagnostics

Dr. Luo is an entrepreneur with more than 14 years of start-up experience in leadership and innovation. Before ACD, Dr. Luo was a founder of Panomics (previously named Genospectra before its acquisition of Panomics), a life science company that was acquired by Affymetrix in 2008. At Panomics, Dr. Luo served various roles including Vice President, Functional Genomics and Chief Scientific Officer and he led the development and launch of all of its flagship product lines. Prior to Panomics, Dr. Luo was one of the earliest senior scientists at Exelixis, where he led a team to identify and validate novel therapeutic targets. Dr. Luo has published many research papers in top peer-reviewed journals. His inventions are the subject of over a dozen patents and patent pending applications. Dr. Luo received his doctorate in biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kenneth Fong, PhD

Founder and Chairman of Kenson Ventures, LLC

Dr. Fong sits on the board of five biotech companies ranging from Innovative tool and diagnostics to pharmaceutical development. In his 30 plus years in the biotech business, he is well-respected in the industry for cultivating and mentoring a number of successful entrepreneurs and companies. 

Dr. Fong is currently the founder and chairman of Kenson Ventures, LLC, a company that specializes in crafting development strategy for early-stage and mid-stage biotech companies. With Dr. Fong at the helm, Kenson has promoted and facilitated the acquisition of a number of its PORTFOLIO companies, including Advanced Cell Diagnostics (acquired by BioTechne), SA Biosciences (by Qiagen), DHI (by Quidel), Fermenta (by ThermoFisher), Panomics (by Affymetrix), Epitomics (by Abcam), and has helped two others, Bioform and Optimer, go public. Along with cultivating entrepreneurs at Kenson Ventures, Dr. Fong is leading System Biosciences, a biotech company that he also founded.

An experienced entrepreneur even before Kenson, Dr. Fong founded and served as CEO of Clontech Laboratories from 1984 until the company was acquired by Becton Dickinson in 1999. Clontech, a leader in the molecular/cell biology market, was the largest company of its kind founded by an Asian American. It was recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in the Bay Area in 1994, 1995, 1998 and 1999.

In addition to running several companies, Dr. Fong has held a number of other leadership positions over the years. He was president of the Bay Area Asian American Manufacturers Association in 1987 and of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in North America from 2007 to 2009. Dr. Fong has also been a member of the Committee of 100 and served on several boards including the Board of Trustees of California State University, the Advisory Board of the College of Science and Engineering at San Francisco State, and the Board of Associates at the Whitehead Biomedical Institute at MIT.

Dr. Fong has a number of philanthropic interests. He was one of the lead supporters of the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, the Chinese Historical Society in San Francisco, the bioengineering auditorium at UC San Diego, and graduate seminar programs at Indiana University. He has also provided a number of scholarships to San Francisco State University, Peking University and the California State University system. Dr. Fong was involved in establishing the Fong Optometry and Medical Library at UC Berkeley, the Kenneth Fong Endowed professorship in Bioengineering at Stanford and the Translational Science Awards at San Francisco State University.

Dr. Fong received his B.S. from San Francisco State University and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

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