LA Venture Podcast: How Westlake Village BioPartners Aims to Catalyze Biotech in LA

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.

Key Takeaways

  • 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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