Welcome to the 2024 CABS INVESTOR FORUM

Date: January 10, 2024 @ 8:00 am – @ 1:30 pm
Location: Morrison Foerster’s San Francisco office (425 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105)

Click HERE to register, please!

Click here to download 2024 CABS Investor Forum Program Brochure! .pdf

CABS is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco, committed to advancing the life sciences and biotech industry through education, collaboration, and networking.

The annual event, Investor Forum, held in conjunction with the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, has been a hallmark of CABS for nearly 15 years. This year's forum is scheduled to take place on January 10th, 2024, from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm at Morrison Foerster’s San Francisco office (425 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105). Due to venue capacity restrictions, the forum will have both on-site and online attendance, expecting over 130 on-site participants and more than 100 online attendees.

Our hybrid format will include two insightful panel discussions covering essential topics such as entrepreneurship, investment trends, licensing, and strategic considerations, as well as new opportunities and challenges in life sciences.


Panel Discussion #1: Reading the Tea Leaves for Biotech Investment in 2024 and beyond 

Alex J. Zhang, PhD, CEO, OneTwenty Therapeutics; President of CABS 2017-2018

Dr. Zhang is the Founder and CEO of OneTwenty Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical stage iPSC-based cell therapy company. He was the Chief Scientist of Hanhai Holdings Group, and the CEO of Hanhai Silicon Valley, Inc., an early-stage investor and cross-border incubator for life sciences and deep tech startups based in San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to Hanhai, Alex was the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Enverest, LLC., a Silicon Valley based innovation solutions and investment advisory firm, with branch offices in China and Singapore. Prior to founding Enverest, Dr. Zhang spent over four years at Thermo Fisher Scientific, where he held several senior business roles. From 2001 to 2009, Dr. Zhang was a Senior Scientist at Tularik Inc. (acquired by Amgen in 2004), where he led drug discovery endeavors in oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases therapeutic areas. Over the past decade, Dr. Zhang has been advising a number of successful biotech, MedTech and digital health startups and venture capital firms.

Dr. Zhang is currently a Board Member of the Chinese America BioPharmaceutical Society (CABS). He served a number of leadership roles in the Executive Council of CABS, including as the President in 2017-18. Dr. Zhang earned MBA degree at Cornell University, PhD in Organic and Analytical Chemistry at Texas A&M University, and BS in Chemistry at Shandong University. His research has led to the publication of 17 peer reviewed articles and 4 patents.

Douglas Crawford, PhD, Managing Partner, Mission BioCapital, and General Manager, MBC Biolabs

Doug’s goal is to help entrepreneurial scientists create successful startups. His dream is that every entrepreneurial scientist with a dream be given a chance.  To this end, he founded and manages MBC BioLabs network, which now has four sites in San Francisco and San Carlos that are home to 117 companies.  These co-working labs allow startups to be fast, focused, and frugal.  Rather than spending months getting a facility up and running, MBC BioLabs startups can do experiments in their first week.

Doug is also a Managing General Partner of Mission BioCapital and has overseen the investment in 45 companies, many of which have already enjoyed successful exits (for instance, Alector, Atreca, Cell Design Labs, iPierian, Mitokinin, Principia, and Redwood Biosciences). He is a board member of Alessa, Avexegen, Epiodyne, Graphwear, Invenio, Myka, Magnap, SiteOne (observer), and Tangible Sciences.

Feng Han, MBA, Managing Partner, CTIC Capital

Feng Han has 30 years of healthcare operational and investment experience on a global basis in MedTech, pharma/biotech, and healthcare service sectors.  His professional experiences include Partner at Pagoda Capital, an established global technology and healthcare investment firm headquartered in Beijing; Managing Director at Fosun Group based in New York, responsible for overseas healthcare private equity investment for one of the largest asset management firms from China; Director Corporate Business Development at Henry Schein, where he led M&A activities in Asia Pacific on behalf of one of the Fortune 500 MedTech companies in the US.  He previously also had management positions with Sanofi Pasteur and R&D experiences in vaccine industry in China. Mr. Han currently is a member of the Board of Directors of Hamilton Thorne Ltd., a US public MedTech company.  

Feng holds MBA in Finance and Marketing from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, MS in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Michigan State University, and BS in Microbial Engineering from Shandong University.

Feng resides in Long Island New York and is an avid skier in the winter and an enthusiastic cyclist in the summer.  He enjoys reading, travel, and going on long hikes with wife and three children.

Lu Yin, PhD, Founder and CEO, Persperion Diagnostics

Lu Yin received his Ph.D. in nanoengineering at the University of California San Diego, published>40 articles and patents on his research on non-invasive sensors and integrated wearable systems, and was selected as Forbes 30 under 30 in the Science category. In 2022, Lu founded Persperion Diagnostics Inc., aiming to use a novel non-invasive touch-based sweat biomarker sensing technology to help over 500 million diabetes users live happier and healthier lives, starting with replacing the painful and inconvenient fingerprick glucose sensors.

Michael L. Salgaller, PhD, Supervisor, Technology Analysis and Marketing Unit, NCI/NIH

Dr. Michael Salgaller leads the Technology Analysis and Marketing Unit (TAMU) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH’s) Technology Transfer Center, where he leverages over 20 years of business, scientific, and investment experience in various life science sectors to support technology development and commercialization. The TAMU serves in a business development role to foster licensing and collaborative activity between buy-side stakeholders and the NIH. Immediately prior to returning to the NCI, Michael was a Vice President at The Conafay Group, a healthcare-focused government affairs firm in downtown DC, where he led alliance development activities centered on civilian health. He served as President of Biologics Consulting Group, a boutique firm providing professional services focused on regulatory affairs. Michael spent several years on the investment team of an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to the life sciences. He began his buy-side career as Vice President of R&D for Northwest Biotherapeutics, where he led the development of cancer cell therapies that achieved clinical benefit. He began his career as a Senior Scientist with Dr. Steve Rosenberg at the NCI. He is the author of “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship,” and teaches an entrepreneurship class at NIH. He is on the Board of Canines-N-Kids, a foundation supporting cooperation between researchers in pediatric and veterinary oncology. He has written over 70 scientific/business articles and book chapters. Dr. Salgaller received his PhD in Pathology from The Ohio State University.

Weian Zhao, PhD, Founder and CEO, Aureka Biotechnologies

Dr. Weian Zhao is the CEO of Aureka Biotechnologies and was previously a tenured full professor at UC Irvine. Throughout his career, Dr. Zhao has been pursuing disruptive innovations that have the potential to enhance human health.  At Aureka, Dr. Zhao is leading a group of passionate entrepreneurs and innovators who dare to transform the unsustainable pharmaceutical industry by digitalizing and democratizing therapeutic discovery and development. Dr. Zhao co-authored approx. 100 articles in respected journals, including Science Translational Medicine, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Communications, and PNAS.  Dr. Zhao has received numerous awards, including MIT’s Technology Review TR35 Award, NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, World Economic Forum Young Scientist, and UCI Innovator of the Year. Dr. Zhao was trained as a bioengineer and pharmaceutical scientist at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MIT, McMaster University, and Shandong University.

Panel Discussion #2: Unveiling Life Sciences Transactions - Opportunities, Business Terms, and Practice Insights

Janet Xiao, PhD, JD, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP; President of CABS 2011-2012

Janet focuses her practice on worldwide patent procurement, patent portfolio management, and strategic planning for life sciences companies. Janet’s clients range from large multinational biopharmaceutical companies, such as Celgene and Genentech, to emerging startup companies around the world. She advises her clients on patent matters relating to various technologies, including antibody therapeutics, cell therapeutics, nanomedicine, gene therapy, drug delivery systems, diagnostics, and nutraceuticals.

Janet works extensively in performing IP due diligence reviews in the contexts of VC investments, technology transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and marketing and manufacturing clearance for biopharmaceutical products. She helps some of the world’s most-sophisticated biopharmaceutical companies and investors assess potential risks and devise preemptive risk-management strategies for their product development and investments. She has led hundreds of IP due diligence projects, and is noted for her in-depth knowledge of patent landscapes in the fields of cancer immunotherapy, gene editing, next-generation sequencing, liquid biopsy, antibody manufacturing, and medical devices. Janet works regularly with patent litigators in the event of legal challenges by third-party competitors or vice versa, and she is frequently called upon to represent clients in litigation and post-grant proceedings.

Ario Arabi, MS, Executive Director of Global BD, Licensing Transaction, Novartis

Ario Arabi is a BD&L Transactions Executive Director at Novartis since June 2021. He has a wealth of transactional expertise with his most recently announced deal at Novartis being the collaboration and license with Ionis for discovery, development and commercialization of next generation program targeting Lp(a). Prior to his role at Novartis, he was Director of Corporate Development at Merck where he focused on oncology M&A.

Ario also brings 8 years of capital markets experience, as an investment banker at renowned firms such as Cowen and Stifel. Here, he supported numerous life sciences companies with financial advisory and capital raising services, including buy side/sell side processes as well as, equity and debt offerings. During the early part of his professional career, Ario worked in equity research in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices sectors at various firms including Leerink and Citigroup. Ario holds a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University with a Double Major in Applied Economics & Management and Biological Sciences.

Julian Temple, MA, Managing Director, Lazard's Healthcare Group

Julian Temple is a Managing Director in the Healthcare Group in New York, having previously spent time in the firm's San Francisco and London offices. He works on a broad range of financial advisory assignments in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Julian's transaction experience covers a wide range of strategic assignments including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, alliances, joint ventures and take-private transactions. He has also been involved in capital raising, shareholder activism and financial restructuring. Julian has an M.A. in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge.

Madoo Varma, PhD, VP, Strategy& Business Development, DNA Script 

Dr. Varma has straddled not only R&D, and business roles successfully but has had the unique experience of working in traditional biotech/diagnostics/life sciences tool companies as well as straddling across high tech companies focused on bioelectronics and digital health. 

She earned her PhD in Genetics and went on to become a Common-Wealth Post Doctoral Scholar at Cambridge University, UK followed by 10+ years in Biotech R&D in Silicon Valley, California at GeneLabs, Adeza Dx, and Stanford University, working as senior scientist/director on target discovery, preeclampsia and pre-term labor prediction tests and infectious diseases, respectively.

She leveraged her rich technical background in genomics, proteomics and cell biology to transition to business roles. In the last two decades, she has held senior leadership roles in product management and business development at HP/Agilent, Applied Biosystems (Thermo), Intel, Labcyte (Danaher), and Codex DNA. AT HP/Agilent, she was instrumental in launch of microarray product line in addition to being part of the team that negotiated the Rosetta/Agilent alliance. At Applied Biosystems, she was a key member of the company strategy team and did several deals from sourcing to deal close. At Intel, as a GM of DNA sequencing incubation group, she led the team and cross institution alliance that led to $5M award for 1000$ genome sequencing. She led the early access collaboration agreement deal with Pfizer (for vaccines and Tx) that lead to a multimillion-dollar deal for Codex DNA. 

At DNA Script, as VP of strategy and business development, she is focusing on partnerships with academia, pharma and tool companies to enhance and leverage company’s portfolio.

Matt Karlyn, JD, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP

Matthew Karlyn has 25 years of experience in working with companies in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, medical device, and technology industries on a wide range of commercial life sciences, licensing, and technology transactions. His clients range from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups, and he regularly advises companies on matters involving IP commercialization, complex collaboration transactions, licensing initiatives, subscription-based economics, and business transactions related to the procurement, development, commercialization, and use of technology and life sciences products. He has also worked with a number of clients on corporate transactions including mergers and acquisitions, as well as private equity and venture capital financing.

Life sciences clients, including pharmaceutical, medical device, and healthcare companies, rely on Matt for his breadth of knowledge in licensing, collaboration, and commercialization strategies across a wide range of transactions designed to strengthen operations and maximize value. Matt’s clients come from sectors across the global economy and include emerging companies, privately held companies, and many of the world’s biggest brands.

Matt has broad experience with commercial transactions and agreements in the life sciences space, including:

Intellectual property and technology licenses

Collaboration and development transactions

Commercialization agreements

Supply and manufacturing transactions

Shanshan Xu, PhD, VP, External Innovations, BioNTech

Shanshan Xu is head of Global External Innovations at BioNTech, where she and her team look for best-in-class assets and technologies to transform BNT’s pipeline. Her team works to bring on board those with the research skills necessary to help management develop our vision and give the company a sneak peek at where the industry is headed next. 

External Innovations’ accomplishments include the partnership of Duality and OncoC4 - both Tier 1 oncology programs. The team is constantly on the lookout for innovative medicines and transformative science and believes that open minds are crucial to finding the best and most innovative partnerships for BioNTech. 

Originally from Harbin, China, Shanshan spent almost half of her life in Mainland China, where she received her medical degree. She also holds a Ph.D. from UC-Irvine and an MBA from MIT.  She spent a few years working on Wall Street before getting a call from Ugur Sahin to join BioNTech in 2020.  

Slanix Paul Alex, Pharm. D, Portfolio Manager, Ally Bridge Group 

Slanix Paul Alex joined Ally Bridge Group in 2023 and is Portfolio Manager for its public equity strategy. Before joining Ally Bridge Group, Slanix invested in life sciences companies as founding Partner and Senior Analyst for Tri Locum Partners and previously as an Investment Analyst for Consonance Capital Management. Prior to the buy-side, Slanix worked in sell-side biotechnology equity research at RBC Capital Markets and Credit Suisse. Slanix began his career in strategy consulting at Bionest Partners, advising life sciences companies on business development and commercial strategy. Slanix is a licensed pharmacist and holds a PharmD from St John’s University. 

For your reference, here is some information about our previous Investor Forums:

We express our sincere gratitude for the generous sponsorship and support from Morrison & Foerster LLP.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2024 CABS Investor Forum.

Click HERE or scan the QR code below to register, please!

Kindly note that : There are limited seats at Morrison & Foerster.  Each year many people are on the waiting list of CABS Investor Forum.

Registration and a photo ID are required to enter the venue (there will be a security check). 

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