Cal State LA Professor Howard Xu, Los Angeles Venture Assn. Executive Director Leonard Lanzi, Executive Vice President Jose A. Gomez, and Dean Pamela Scott-Johnson at LAVA’s First Look L.A. 2017. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

California State University, Los Angeles hosted some of the region’s leading bioscience research institutions during a day-long event focusing on emerging technology investment opportunities.

The Los Angeles Venture Association’s (LAVA) First Look L.A. 2017 connected investors with researchers and entrepreneurs developing cutting-edge technologies. The June 28 event was part of Cal State LA’s collaboration with public and private sector partners to promote the bioscience industry in the Los Angeles region.

Cal State LA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jose A. Gomez welcomed guests to the event.

“Cal State LA is promoting strong partnerships to develop a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. The future is right here—in L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley region,” said Gomez, who chairs LA BioSpace, a university incubator that will enable startup firms to develop innovative technologies.

Cal State LA anchors the eastern edge of an area known as “Bioscience Valley,” which extends along Valley Boulevard and includes Grifols Biologicals Inc. on the east, and the University of Southern California Health Sciences Campus on the west.

First Look L.A. featured institutions including Cal State LA; Caltech; USC; University of California, Irvine; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Santa Barbara; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Arizona State University; University of Hawaii, and LA BioMed.

The event took place as Cal State LA is preparing to begin LABioStart, a five-week training program to equip entrepreneurs with skills to launch bioscience ventures. The collaborative project includes Cal State LA, the Biocom Institute and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. Scheduled to start in mid-July, LABioStart is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The University’s bioscience initiatives will be enhanced by the LA BioSpace Incubator, which is scheduled to open in September 2018. LA BioSpace will provide laboratory space for lease to bioscience startups, providing the equipment and collaborative environment they need to turn scientific advances into successful commercial ventures. Entrepreneurs will be able to collaborate with Cal State LA students and faculty, and as their companies grow, they will create high-quality jobs in the region.

LA BioSpace was created with grants from Los Angeles County and the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The facility will be housed at the University in the Rongxiang Xu Bioscience Innovation Center.

“Our faculty and students are shaping this industry through their research, creativity, and entrepreneurship,” said Pamela Scott-Johnson, dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences. “Cal State LA is key to the success of the bioscience industry in Los Angeles.”