(Left to right) Scripps Research Professor Jamie Williamson, PhD; Professor Ben Cravatt, PhD; Vividion Therapeutics President and CEO Aleksandra Rizo, MD, PhD; and board member Tom Daniel, MD. 

Science and biotech thought leaders gathered in March for the first event in the Biotech CEO Salon series, featuring an engaging discussion about Scripps Research spin-off Vividion Therapeutics.

The event—sponsored by Savills, UBS and Marsh McLennan—celebrated San Diego’s unique biotech culture and the leaders who are shaping it. Scripps Research Professor Ben Cravatt, PhD; Scripps Research board member Tom Daniel, MD; and President and CEO of Vividion Therapeutics Aleks Rizo, MD, PhD, shared the company’s success story with moderator Jamie Williamson, PhD, a Scripps Research professor.

Vividion’s rise is an inspiring one: from its founding in 2014 at Scripps Research to its acquisition by Bayer AG in 2021, the company started out as a research collaboration between Professors Cravatt; Phil Baran, PhD; and Jin-Quan Yu, PhD, focusing on small molecule drug discovery.

(Left to right) Scripps Research Professors Ben Cravatt, PhD, and Jamie Williamson, PhD, at the Biotech CEO Salon event.

Today, the Scripps Research spin-off—one of more than 50 active companies that started at the institute—is thriving as it continues to deploy novel discovery technologies to unlock traditionally undruggable targets with precision therapeutics for a range of diseases. The company actively leverages its proprietary chemoproteomic platform to develop its pipeline of small molecule therapeutics. This revolutionary work started from the collaboration of a proteome-wide ligand and target discovery platform from Cravatt’s lab and synthetic chemistry from the labs of Baran and Yu.

The Vividion story highlights how the basic scientific discoveries at Scripps Research can have a far-reaching impact on the biotech and biopharma industries. The innovations happening in our labs support not only the institute’s vision to translate science from bench to bedside, but the overarching goal of benefiting human health across the globe. Vividion, and the institute’s numerous other spin-offs, advances this mission.

Attendees of the event also had the opportunity to learn more about Daniel’s Collaborative Innovation Fund at Scripps Research. This fund specifically supports “high-risk, high-reward science” that can lead to potentially life-changing discoveries by empowering interdisciplinary groups of scientists, like the collaborative approach behind Vividion. It is typically these types of innovations that face funding challenges from traditional means until they can demonstrate feasibility. The fund will allow Scripps Research scientists to conduct early work in cutting-edge areas of study with an added level of collaboration.

The next discussion in the Biotech CEO Salon series is set for fall 2024, with more information coming soon.