From Lab to Market at Warp Speed

Pushing the
Innovation Envelope

Never stop starting up is the catchphrase at UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management, which kicked off its yearlong, tenth anniversary celebration in June 2013. So far, its students have launched over seventy-five companies that are operational today and developed over one hundred new products or services within companies.

By focusing on innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration, the school has distinguished itself as a management-education pioneer. Robert Sullivan, founding dean and chief architect of Rady’s next-generation MBA program, was named chair of the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) board of directors in 2013. He favors a curriculum that teaches students how to identify scalable ideas that fill a market need and add economic value.

StartR, launched by a group of Rady School students as an independent study project in 2013, is a six-month-long acceleration program for early-stage companies and student teams held twice yearly on the Rady campus. Six teams are selected per program, which emphasizes hands-on company development and mentorship. At least one member on each team must be a current Rady student or alumnus. At the conclusion of the program, teams have an opportunity to pitch to investors and industry experts.

In 2013, Rady students, along with four research teams from UC San Diego and the University of Southern California, received $180,000 in commercialization awards as part of the Southern California Clean Energy Technology Acceleration Program funded by the Department of Energy. The teams were guided by a technology and business adviser from the von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering in conducting market feasibility studies and prototype development. The program was designed to accelerate the commercialization of innovative clean-energy technologies developed at research institutions in the region.

Rady is one of several campus nodes on the “Innovation Network” or “iNetwork,” a campuswide initiative currently under development at UC San Diego. Proposed network tools include proof-of-concept funds, incubators, entrepreneur-mentors, and an enhanced research portal. The network delivers entrepreneurship training, student involvement, business development, licensing strategies, funding opportunities, and connections to alumni.

iNetwork is the brainchild of the new Division of Innovation and Industry Alliances (DI2A), established by the Office of Research Affairs in 2012. To develop the network, DI2A is partnering with the Rady School, Alumni and Constituent Engagement, the Office of Research Affairs, UC San Diego Extension, and other stakeholders across campus.

DI2A provides university innovators and industrial partners with advice and resources to forge mutually productive partnerships. Its mission is to build a campuswide culture of entrepreneurism and position UC San Diego as a premier center for discovery, innovation, and lab-to-market success.

Duane J. Roth: 1949–2013

With the untimely death of Duane J. Roth in August 2013, UC San Diego and the broader San Diego community lost a visionary leader, biotech entrepreneur, and tireless champion for the region’s growth and prosperity. Roth, sixty-three, died of injuries sustained in a bicycling accident in preparation for a charity race.

Prior to his passing, he was chief executive officer of CONNECT; vice chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), California’s stem cell agency; and incoming chairman of the board for the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Roth founded Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp. and was a senior executive at Johnson & Johnson and Wyeth before he took over as CEO of CONNECT in 2004.

CONNECT, which links regional inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for commercialization of innovative products, was originally founded in 1985 as a part of UC San Diego. Since that time, the organization has assisted in the formation and development of more than three thousand companies.