LA Venture Podcast: How Westlake Village BioPartners Aims to Catalyze Biotech in LA
On this week's episode of LA Venture, hear from Sean Harper, founding managing director of Westlake Village BioPartners, which has two new funds totaling $500 million that's catalyzing the L.A. biotech ecosystem. Harper is the former head of research and development at biopharmaceutical company Amgen. He shares his focus on therapeutics to improve human lives and starting Westlake with Beth Seidenberg.
- Harper believes Google's AlphaFold and protein folding will be transformative, but doesn't want to overhype its potential.
- Harper points out that a lot of what's making biology more of a quantitative, predictive science and translatable into new therapies for people comes from the introduction of non-biology technologies like robotics, x-ray or crystallography.
- Westlake Village BioPartners has partnered with Alexandria Venture Investments which has helped to provide turnkey available laboratory space. This should help companies get set up quickly.
"At some point, it's going to be possible to essentially reset the immune system. So it no longer believes that self antigens are foreign. If somebody brings forward a technology like that, it'll be transformative." — Sean Harper
Sean Harper attended medical school at the University of California at San Francisco, completed internal medicine and gastroenterology training at Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Laurette Phillip A. Sharp at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He held a number of key leadership positions at Amgen.
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Nearly a year into the worst pandemic in a century, Los Angeles companies expecting to snap up office space on the cheap may be disappointed.
L.A. office rents have held steady or even gotten pricier since COVID, even as more space has become available as most employees continue to work from home.
"I honestly thought rents would have dropped by now," said Michael Soto, research director at the brokerage Savills Inc. "For a lot of tenants, they are still seeing a bit of sticker shock that prices haven't dropped yet."
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On today's episode of Office Hours, I'm excited for you to get to know Austin Allison, my co-founder and CEO of our company, Pacaso.
Birds were the first dwellers Austin served with his boyhood bird-house business. Now, with Pacaso, our goal is to democratize second-home ownership by enabling people to co-own an amazing second home --- for 1/8 the cost.
Hear his take on what it meant to have his first company acquired, his number one tip on how to keep his crew focused and how to best navigate what seems like weekly iterations of the start-up environment.
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Sweetgreen has pledged to be carbon neutral in six years by cutting its carbon output in half. Santa Monica and the L.A. Cleantech Incubator launched the nation's first zero-emissions delivery zone, a project meant to encourage companies to embrace EV transportation. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more updates.
- Sweet Green wants to get greener
- Santa Monica opens emission-free delivery zone in downtown
Sweetgreen Promises Carbon Neutrality by 2027<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzEzODQ3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTc4NjQxNn0.sad0ogJEI_n5zonFpimBFFqqkA6NSvjXVhk3ckIyeUo/img.jpg?width=980" id="e77aa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="0997ff2630815ab1b3505090cfdb38ca" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />LA Tech Updates: Sweetgreen to Go Carbon Neutral by 2027; Santa Monica Opens Zero-Emission Zone<p>Sweetgreen wants to be greener. </p> <p>The Culver City-based fast casual unicorn has pledged to be carbon neutral in six years by cutting its carbon output in half.</p> <p>"We believe that climate change is the defining challenge of our generation, posing a real and systemic threat to the health of people and the planet," Sweetgreen's founders <a href="https://medium.com/@sweetgreen/our-commitment-to-be-carbon-neutral-by-2027-875a29698252" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote in a blog post.</a> "As restaurant leaders in an industry that drives 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is our responsibility to use our platform and resources to confront this crisis head on."</p> <hr><p>The company says it started measuring its carbon output in 2019, which helped it identify areas where it could save energy. It was already well ahead of most other restaurants because of its heavy use of low impact fruits and vegetables rather than beef, but it wanted to do more.</p> <p>Sweetgreen will now use carbon output as a metric for deciding what to put on its menu. It will also work with suppliers to be more environmentally friendly.</p> <p>"To truly future proof our company, we must evolve our supply network and fix our relationship to the soil — and cultivate an environment that benefits the entire agricultural ecosystem: our food partners, customers, team members, and the planet," the founders wrote. </p>
Santa Monica Opens Nation's First Zero-Emissions Delivery Zone<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTY5MDU3OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTI1NTIxOH0.T3W4XNFrl3_7TZ-fPB9kBRheOBEh-WeZY3LdoouwhdU/img.jpg?width=980" id="7afd5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d0d1afe8b6f9d941da5b2c303f975ba3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="kiwibot Santa Monica" data-width="1080" data-height="1080" /><p>Ikea, Shopify and the yerba mate brand Guayaki are just a few of the companies that vow to cut pollution in Santa Monica by using electric vans and delivery robots to fulfill orders.</p><p>The seaside city and the L.A. Cleantech Incubator launched the nation's first zero-emissions delivery zone on Thursday, a project meant to encourage companies to embrace EV transportation by giving drivers access to 20 reserved parking and loading spots. The one-square mile radius will span Downtown Santa Monica and Main Street. </p><hr><p>City officials will be watching for changes in traffic and pollution with an eye towards introducing permanent zones down the line.</p><p>To do that, <a href="https://dot.la/automotus-2650510029.html" target="_self">they've hired Automotus</a>, a venture-backed software startup that monitors curbside traffic. The company will install 20 small video cameras on street lamps lining the parking spots to collect data on factors like congestion and safety. Plus, the technology will alert drivers to open parking spots through an app. </p><p>Automotus' CEO says the cameras will not pick up personally identifiable information. In other cities, however, the software has been used to automate parking violations and issue tickets. </p><p>Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich said in a statement that the pilot comes at a "critical moment" in the city's recovery. </p><p>"Beyond reducing carbon and congestion, the added bonus is that restaurants can keep higher margins of sales on delivered food items," Himmelrich added. </p><p>To encourage use of the space, local businesses will be given access to two Nissan electric vans and ecommerce software company Shopify will equip merchants in the area with <a href="https://dot.la/kiwibot-delivery-robot-2649919954.html" target="_self">Kiwibot delivery robots</a> to help drop off orders.</p>
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