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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


WTC San Diego

May 25, 2018

Many of your inboxes have likely been bombarded this week with notifications of privacy policy updates from organizations of every kind. That’s because today is the day that a two year transition period ends and enforcement for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) begins. This new regulation changes the ways in which companies can collect, protect, and use personal data, while bolstering consumer/user rights to their data.

Sound familiar? You might have attended World Trade Center San Diego's roundtable about Data Protection and Privacy Regulations for EU and APEC back in January.

Here’s some background:

Two years ago, the European Union adopted the GDPR, a regulation that harmonizes data protection and privacy laws for all EU individuals. We say EU individuals because the GDPR applies not just to EU citizens but also residents, workers, and even foreigners whose data is collected while on EU soil. Companies were given a two-year transition period to decide upon and execute a compliance strategy.

Some of the key issues addressed in the GDPR are:

  • Enhanced rights of data subjects
    • Digital consent
    • Right to erasure
    • Right of access/data portability
  • Responsibilities of the data controller/processor
    • Data Protection Officer (DPO) requirements
    • Handling of data breaches
  • Penalties for non-compliance

The GDPR is a complex legal framework that has been shrouded in controversy from the start. Some have argued that small businesses will be disproportionately harmed by the cost of compliance despite the initial target of the legislation being data giants, such as Facebook and Google. Not that compliance has been a breeze for those two companies either. As the EU’s judiciaries build precedence around this topic, the important thing for companies to do at this moment, is to ensure that their privacy policies and marketing efforts comply with the updated regulations.

You can check out our updated (and GDPR-compliant) privacy policy here.

May 15, 2018

A San Diego genomics giant is acquiring a San Diego genomics startup. Does it get any better than this?

Recent #SDinUK delegate company and biotech startup Edico Genome has been acquired by local genomics giant Illumina in a deal worth $100 million.

Edico Genome’s DRAGEN Bio-IT technology uses field programmable gate array chips in conjunction with proprietary software algorithms for rapid analysis of genetic data produced by DNA-sequencing machines. It means the time it takes to sequence your genome is drastically expedited. 
 
Our acquisition of Edico Genome is a big step toward realizing the vision of reducing sequencing data acquisition and analysis to a push-button, standardized process,” said Susan Tousi, SVP of product development at Illumina. 
 
The San Diego roots in this deal run strong. Like many great San Diego startups, Edico Genome was a graduate of local incubator EvoNexus. It has also received funding from Qualcomm Ventures. President and CEO Pieter Van Rooyen was also a co-founder of EvoNexus alum EcoATM prior to working with Edico Genome.
 
Earlier this year, on the heels of EDC's 2017 U.K. trade mission, Edico Genome and Genomics England announced a partnership to strengthen the accuracy and consistency of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis in Genomics England’s Rare Disease Pilot.
May 14, 2018

This month, it was announced that California had the 5th largest economy in the world, behind the total GDP of the United States, China, Japan, and Germany. Much of this growth is concentrated in the coastal metros which, of course, include San Diego. In an increasingly integrated economy, strategic global economic engagements are crucial to San Diego’s sustained economic competitiveness. By leveraging international exports and foreign direct investment (FDI), San Diego continues to create jobs, increase competitiveness, and boost the region’s global identity.

San Diego, with the help of its local leadership, has become an increasingly global city – one that engages with other metropolitan regions with similar interests and industries. These connections have led to an increase in trade missions, research and innovation partnerships, collaborations, venture funding, and other opportunities for local companies. This year, San Diego welcomed Lufthansa airlines as a direct flight carrier linking San Diego and Frankfurt. Lufthansa joins the ranks of Edelweiss, British Airways, and Japan Airlines in offering overseas nonstop service. These direct flights go a long way in easing both business and tourism travel which foster increased business flow and connect people around the world with San Diego’s world-class tourist sites, such as the San Diego Zoo. These direct flights and increased global connectivity have also done much to help San Diego’s budding companies do business both at home and overseas.

In just the past three years, 45 companies have graduated from MetroConnect, an export assistance program led by WTC San Diego. As we close out our most recent cohort, program participants have collectively generated $10.5 million in new export sales, signed more than 70 new contracts, added 50 new jobs to the region, set up nine new overseas facilities and seen three successful company exits.

While the latest national rhetoric seems to suggest that trade is an evil word and something to be feared, San Diego traces some of its greatest successes to trade. Companies such as Viasat, Qualcomm, Cubic, and Illumina have all translated local innovation into global solutions – solutions that have catapulted San Diego onto the global stage and helped highlight the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that helps this region the life-changing place it is.

This week, WTC San Diego is proud to commemorate World Trade Week and highlight the ways in which San Diego is going global. We couldn’t be more proud of our companies, our people, and our innovations. Follow along in our week-long celebration at #WorldTradeWeek, and tell us what #GlobalSD means to you.

The World Trade Week concept was started in 1926 and first observed in 1927 in Southern California. World trade significantly contributes to the nation’s economy and has developed a vast new horizon for America’s businesses. To learn more about the history behind World Trade Week, visit: foreigntradeassociation.com/worldtradeweek.

 

 

May 10, 2018

WTC San Diego is proud to announce the four finalists of MetroConnect, San Diego's premier export assistance program, presented by JPMorgan Chase. These four diverse companies will compete for an additional $35,000 in funding towards their international expansion strategies during our Grand Prize PitchFest on June 7. The catch? They will be looking to you, the attendee, to judge and award the extra cash. Read more and register here.

This year’s finalists are:

  • CureMatch | a genomics, software company that guides oncologists through its platform in selecting the most advanced personalized cancer therapies for patients
  • FoxFury | an innovative, portable, go-anywhere, lighting tools company that serves firefighting, police, military, industrial safety, hazardous area, filming, and photography
  • Planck Aerosystems | an autonomous drone company that focuses on use cases operating from moving vehicles
  • Tioga Research | a contract research organization that supports the research and early development of skin-applied products, including topical, and transdermal drugs and prestige cosmetic products


Join us June 7 for the MetroConnect Pitchfest.

 

May 7, 2018

MetroConnect is WTC San Diego’s comprehensive export support program, presented by JPMorgan Chase. Each year, 15 companies are chosen to receive support that will accelerate their global growth through exporting. Critical to the success of this program areWTC San Diego’s network of MetroConnect partners.

SYSTRAN is a pioneer in translation services and technology, delivering real-time language solutions for companies and government agencies that require the most high-performance translation services on the market. Founded in La Jolla in the midst of the Cold War, SYSTRAN has been a trusted provider of translation solutions to companies such as Symantec, Cisco, Airbus, and Barclays, as well as the U.S. Intelligence community.

SYSTRAN introduced the very first hybrid machine translation engine on the market, with software that automatically learned from existing and validated translations. More recently, SYSTRAN Pure Neural® Server will push the quality and fluency boundary further than ever before, according to SYSTRAN’s Global CTO, Jean Senellart.

As a two-time sponsor of the MetroConnect program, SYSTRAN has made its entry level suite of translation and consulting services available to the 30 participating companies, free of charge. This has allowed companies such as CureMatch and Envision Solar to focus on what they do best (saving lives and the environment) and leave the translation to the experts.

Just this past month, SYSTRAN celebrated its 50th anniversary of helping connect people around the world.

 

Join us June 7 for the MetroConnect Pitchfest.

 

May 3, 2018

MetroConnect is WTC San Diego’s comprehensive export support program, presented by JPMorgan Chase. Each year, 15 companies are chosen to receive support that will accelerate their global growth through exporting. Critical to the success of this program are WTC San Diego’s network of MetroConnect partners.

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan.  JETRO is organized and managed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and maintains 74 overseas offices, 44 regional offices in Japan, and headquarters in Tokyo and Osaka.

With the support of JETRO’s trained staff and advisors, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support, find dedicated office space, identify local government incentives, receive market reports, and more.

One of the MetroConnect companies that received support from JETRO as part of this year's cohort is Foxfury, a portable lighting solutions company for emergency response and law enforcement. JETRO delivered a curated list of manufacturers and distributors and conducted outreach on Foxfury’s behalf. JETRO also represented Foxfury in initial meetings with distributors. These introductions eventually led to an arranged meeting, sales, and a partnership between Foxfury and Ostrich International, which will demo Foxfury products at trade shows in Japan.

 

Join us June 7 for the MetroConnect Pitchfest.

 

April 30, 2018

Next month, join WTC San Diego for the finale of the 2017-2018 MetroConnect export assistance program. MetroConnect, presented by JPMorgan Chase, is a comprehensive export support program designed to help San Diego companies accelerate their global growth. Fifteen San Diego companies were chosen to participate in the 2017-2018 program, representing a variety of sectors including life sciences, maritime, craft goods, and cleantech. These companies received a $10,000 grant and services to help them increase international sales.

On June 7, WTC San Diego is inviting four of the top performing companies back to compete for an additional $35,000. The catch? These companies will be looking to the audience to judge and award the extra cash. Make your vote count at the Grand Prize Pitchfest, as these promising local companies make their final case to be MetroConnect champion.

The event will take place from 2:30 – 5:30 PM at The Alexandria at Torrey Pines. Matt Cole, president of Cubic Transportation Systems will deliver the keynote address. Networking reception to follow.

 

March 20, 2018

In January 2018, WTC San Diego compiled a report for the Port of San Diego comparing trucking companies’ shipping prices to more than 20 destinations throughout the Southwest. The report included an assessment of conditions that currently cause spikes in shipping prices, including inclement weather, regulatory changes, and a shortage of drivers. Data shows, at the start of 2018, just one truck was available in the U.S. for every 12 loads needing to be shipped.

The report painted a clearer picture on the competitiveness of shipping from the Port of San Diego compared to the Port of Long Beach. The information will assist the Port in providing service to its tenants and inform its work to attract ocean liners.

March 13, 2018

On Monday, local leaders converged to celebrate a true San Diego success story: Forge Therapeutics. The biotech startup is doubling its local footprint and just became the newest tenant at Alexandria Real Estate’s Torrey Ridge Science Center.

World Trade Center San Diego and EDC first learned of Forge during its trade mission to the U.K. in October 2017. In London, CEO Zak Zimmerman announced a partnership with the U.K. team at Evotec, dubbed the BLACKSMITH platform. The international partnership allows Forge to work around the clock to brings its life-saving science to market.

In the U.S. alone, more than 23,000 die annually due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or ‘superbugs.’ Forge Therapeutics is changing that through the creation of a novel class of antibiotics that are targeting gram-negative bacteria, a class of bacteria with ‘bulletproof’ membranes that are resistant to traditional antibacterial interventions. The secret behind the life-saving science lies in metal-dependent enzymes or metalloenzymes. Zimmerman’s team has assumed the role of the blacksmiths of modern medicine; they are using chemistry to target these naturally occurring metals that help combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Forge’s expansion comes at a time when telling the story of innovative, expanding companies is more important than ever.

"The national rhetoric around trade has not made it easy for businesses to create international partnerships, but supporting local companies as they expand overseas leads to economic growth and creates jobs here in San Diego. I hope that success stories, like Forge's and other groundbreaking companies in San Diego, can help change that," added Rep. Scott Peters, who was on site to provide remarks during the ribbon cutting.

San Diego already holds a reputation as a biotech powerhouse, but it’s true competitive edge lies in its ability to engineer and take life-saving treatments to market. San Diego civic leaders remained committed to fostering an environment where companies can continue to succeed.

By expanding its footprint and doubling its workforce, Forge is strengthening our city's reputation as a leader in medical research and innovation. Success stories like this demonstrate how important it is that we are creating the kind of environment where companies like this can grow and thrive," said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

(Left photo: Mayor Faulconer receiving Forge-branded pitch fork from CEO Zak Zimmerman.)

But for Zimmerman and Forge, San Diego has been part of its DNA. Nearly three years ago, Zimmerman met UC San Diego professor Seth Cohen with a chance meeting on a soccer field. The initial technology for Forge was based on more than 15 years of leading research Cohen, spearheaded at UC San Diego. Much of the company’s funding and scientific board also has San Diego roots.

"We are extremely proud to be growing our footprint in San Diego. This biotechnology ecosystem consisting of groundbreaking science, educated investors, strategic advisors and local supporters has allowed us to thrive and expand in ways that we couldn't have imagined," Zimmerman said.

During a Fireside chat with San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Bradley Fikes, Zimmerman spoke a bit more about his decision to grow in San Diego. “Yeah, Boston and San Francisco are known for science, but we wanted to be in a place where people wanted to live and we can attract scientists with 10-20 years experience,” said Zimmerman.

Part of Forge’s growth is due to Alexandria Real Estate. Alexandria Investment Partners, the real estate company’s venture arm, backed Forge’s Series A. Now, they are providing Forge with more than 7,000 sq ft of office and lab space. But to Alexandria, it’s about creating an experience that helps companies foster life-saving innovation. “When you have a good feeling about your physical space, it makes you want to work hard,” said Zimmerman, of his new ARE office space.

February 28, 2018

Last Friday, San Diego hosted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, as a follow up to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and WTC San Diego's "World's Greenest Cities” trade mission to Vancouver, Canada.

The day began with a public Mayoral Forum on North American Competitiveness and Sustainability, held at the University Club in downtown. Mayor Faulconer and Mayor Robertson were joined by City of Tijuana COO, Bernabe Esquer, in a moderated discussion on cross-border cooperation and city leadership in economic and environmental issues. The event was attended by more than 100 civic and business leaders.

Building on the theme of sustainability, Mayor Robertson was taken on a tour of San Diego-based Measurabl, the company responsible for the world’s fastest growing sustainability software for commercial buildings and facilities. The local startup develops cloud-based software that collects data on energy consumption, creates investment-grade sustainability reports and alerts companies to improvement opportunities for added efficiency. The company visit showcased how San Diego companies play a leading role in developing green technologies that get adopted around the world.

Mayor Robertson left that evening for the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City with much report on his visit to life-changing San Diego. At the forefront: San Diego’s working relationship with Tijuana can be a model for border cities like Vancouver in addressing issues that span national boundaries.