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SoCalBio Conference showcases emerging technology created by Trojans

Biotech and digital health companies with USC ties turn out at bioscience event

Harsh Vathsangam
Harsh Vathsangam ’13 is co-founder of Moving Analytics, a company featured at the SoCalBio Conference. (Photo/Ron Mackovich)

Cardiopulmonary patients fare much better if they complete cardiac rehab after hospitalization, but only about a third do so. That could change, thanks to work by Harsh Vathsangam ’13 and his company, Moving Analytics, which helps patients complete much of their cardiac rehab at home with an app-based program.

“We’ve tripled participation rates, especially among military veterans,” Vathsangam said during his presentation at the 19th Annual SoCalBio Conference, an event held Sept. 29 in Long Beach that showcased life-science companies and technologies.

Moving Analytics was founded by Vathsangam and two fellow USC graduates. It’s one of six biotech, diagnostic and digital health companies with strong USC ties that were featured at the event.

“We’re here to raise the next round of funding, and to get feedback and connect with investors, hospitals and providers that can help us build up and scale,” said Rahul Jain, associate professor of engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and co-founder of Vivace Systems.

Jain also serves as a mentor with USC’s Health, Technology and Engineering, a program — part of the USC biotech pipeline — that helps to create student startups and facilitate their progress. HTE students provided patent research and market analysis for Thermal View Monitoring, CaliVive and LiTE Vectors — three companies featured at the conference.

“HTE gave us access to connections and resources, including people from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” Vathsangam said. “We learned about venture capital, licensing, market segments and funding. We also learned how to best navigate the regulatory environment of running a health care company.”

From bench to market

The SoCalBio Conference brings entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and service providers together every year.

“It’s a chance for AMI and USC to pitch early stage programs and companies and also to network with potential investors,” said Jon Lasch, executive director for the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering at USC.

AMI, a platinum sponsor of the event, supports researchers who take biotech from lab to market. AMI helps navigate regulatory pathways, organize clinical studies, build prototypes, form companies and raise capital.

“AMI covers a lot of biomed research out of USC, and this event helps us find who’s doing what, who’s out there,” said Winn Hong, senior director of engineering and business development at AMI. “It helps us draw a roadmap of who the players are, and if there’s synergy, perhaps we can work with them. Everyone’s here to get a take on the pulse of the biomed field.”

Looking forward to a biotech park

USC is committed to creating a biotech park on the Health Sciences Campus, a vision that’s creating a buzz at events like the SoCalBio Conference. A biotech park would create quality jobs for L.A.’s Eastside neighborhoods and advance community health. With its proximity to the Health Sciences Campus, a biotech park on the Eastside would also have the benefit of physician input.

“Having a university-level facility means physicians will be there to figure out how to make the tech relevant,” Lasch said. “A biotech park will bring like-minded people in the industry together to work as a critical mass to address some of the more important medical problems we face today.”

The biotech park would also provide space for startups and established companies like Moving Analytics.

“Being plugged in to the community at the biotech park would be great,” Vathsangam said. “It helps when you want to develop ideas and when you want to recruit new graduates. I’d like to see a few advanced companies move into that kind of space so you could have the benefit of mentorship.”

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SoCalBio Conference showcases emerging technology created by Trojans

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