Sangeeta Bardhan Cook is the executive director, business innovation, at City of Hope. She joins us to discuss the unique aspects of commercialisation at a hospital with a focus on cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases and what it means to be surrounded by patients who often have nowhere else left to turn.

She discusses the importance of City of Hope having its own GMP manufacturing facility, how the impatience of researchers to help patients is driving an entrepreneurial culture and why even far-away Australia isn’t out of the question for IPOs.

Cook also reveals how one particular treatment was so impactful it made her cry and why deathstalker scorpion venom may sound like a wild concept on which to base a cancer therapy, but is already becoming a reality thanks to Chimeric Therapeutics.


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Please note, the intro and outro have been omitted.

Sangeeta, welcome to the podcast.

Thank you. It is great to be here.

To start with let us ease our way in. Can you give me an overview of City of Hope and its tech transfer activities?

Sure. City of Hope is a 10,000-plus strong hospital and research enterprise dedicated to making an impact in the lives of people with cancer, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. Our mission just very briefly is to transform the future of healthcare by turning science into a practical benefit, hope into reality, hence you get City of Hope. We were founded in, I want to say, 1913 originally as a group of volunteers to go help a TB outbreak. As antibiotics came to society to go help with that, it slowly transformed over time to take on bigger challenges like cancer and HIV and diabetes.

What has happened is that we became a national cancer Institute, designated comprehensive cancer centre. We are a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and we spearhead an initiative called Cancer Care is Different in the state of California to help establish a cancer patient bill of rights as well. In addition to the type of policy and patient focus we do, we have a really, really strong route dedicated to research and innovation towards the types of cures we want to make for society. These have led to significant advances in modern medicine, including the development of the first synthetic human insulin, the human growth hormone and the drugs that have transformed cancer, like Herceptin or toxin Avastin.

They are built on base technology that the City of Hope made with Genentech back in the day. So, it is with that when we run the tech transfer office that we are trying to take the credo of City of Hope. There is no profit in curing the body, if in the process we destroy the soul. In our tech transfer role, we try to take all these things that our amazing researchers do and make sure that the patients actually see them. In a way that is in line with our values and advances, not just the patients that come to City of Hope in Duarte which is about 20 miles east of Pasadena, where I live in the greater Los Angeles area to pretty much everyone around the world.

Just to wrap up with that, when I first came as a tech transfer licensing manager, I think we were 3,500 people approximately in our main campus in Duarte, California, but even then we have grown. We include the City of Hope National Medical Center, the Beckman Research Institute, rhe Translational Genomics Research Institute based in Arizona, also known as TGen, our AccessHope subsidiary and our most recent family member is the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, which will take a lot of the City of Hope treatments that you see here in LA and take it around the US.

I usually, as you know, talk to people who are from universities on this podcast, how does tech transfer work in a hospital? Is there anything that makes it easier or more difficult?

So, every tech transfer office has their good days and their bad days, their headaches and just the highs. It is a great community I get to be part of. But yes, I think there are differences between a hospital and a university system. The first one being that a hospital research system has a very focused pipeline. In my case, I am a speciality hospital, so the focus is a speciality hospital where I am focused mostly in cancer and diabetes right now.

So, the focus of our resources and our efforts get to be a little bit more streamlined as opposed to if I am at Stanford or UCLA, I would be getting inventions or working with professors who are in engineering or trying to put things into space or could literally try and make an app in someone’s basement or garage.

It is a bit of a different world. I do not get any of the fun that all the physicists and engineers get to go do at the universities, but I do get to focus on the thing that I am super passionate about along with my team, which are therapies dedicated to cancer and diabetes, which really affects not just one person at this point. I do not know anyone who does not have at least someone that they love that is not affected by diseases like this. Just by that alone, a speciality hospital system has that very, very big distinction.

Like I said, it comes with positives and negatives with that. For me, it allows me and my team and the other units at City of Hope to take our resources that we want to allocate and really focus on this. So, what we have done at City of Hope is we have made a streamlined infrastructure in our resources to help take in inventions that scientists see and make at the bench, and we literally can see them go into a patient two years later.

I get to say that I have actually seen that happen. That is not something as easily done even other hospital systems that do not have the same focus on the same kind of specialized care, and definitely at universities. That said, we cannot make an app in our garage, in our pyjamas. Well, maybe I cannot make an app, but we are not going to go do that the same way that a bunch of people who want to do something in the gig economy. So, that would probably be the biggest difference.

I imagine that is really rewarding to actually see therapies that you have helped license improve people’s lives.

It is tremendous. It is what has kept me coming back for over a good part of a decade at this point. I joined City of Hope in 2013, and I am still here driving people crazy. It means a lot. I tell people the biggest, most impactful day in my history at City of Hope was finding out that a patient had shown remission in glioblastoma, which is a terrible, aggressive brain cancer. It is the one that for people in the US maybe would associate with the late Senator John McCain.

When I heard about the data that had come out from this trial, I went back to my office, closed the door, and I cried because the trial happened because of the licensing and partnering deals that we do. It was something that I had very much led, so it meant a lot to me. I do not show up nor does anyone in my team show up on a patent or scientific paper or any of these conferences. But knowing that we are part of these things is what keeps us going every single day.

We are remote now, not everybody, but some people are remote now throughout the pandemic and one of the hardest things is actually not being as connected to those patients, because I remember parking next to families who were seeing their loved ones in the hospital, and seeing their loved ones get ready for things for their different cancer trials. I will tell you when you are in a Starbucks, that is inside your hospital and you are waiting in line behind a patient who is connected to an IV, it just keeps you very much grounded to the mission and it helps you realize why it is so important to get these technologies through the valley of death because if you are coming to City of Hope, since we are a specialty cancer centre, we take the cases that nobody else can really take anymore.

We give chances to people that other places do not have the skill set maybe, or the resources, or honestly, the repertoire of seeing so many strange and different diagnoses. When you are standing in line with them, it keeps you very connected to the mission and it keeps your eyes on the prize, honestly, for what it is you are doing for every transaction in our group when we do tech transfer activities.

You are definitely the first person who has talked about crying on this podcast, but even just listening to you I get goosebumps because it is deeply impactful, and transformative for these patients. Does that mean that most of your team are also not keen on leaving? Like is it a sticky office?

Well, I would like to say no one would be, but I am so blessed. I am so utterly blessed because everyone above me, to the side of me, below me, we are like this special coalition of people who just resonate and connect to this. Like I say, not everybody can work here. If you do not have this special thing inside of you, it is not just connecting to that deep mission. But to be able to handle it day to day because that takes a certain type of grit as well. I will tell you, I am very picky with recruitment because when I look at people who join my team, and when I look at my leaders above me, when they are forming theirs, as we have been expanding throughout, we do not just go, oh, I am just going go find this person who on paper has these amazing skills, a beautiful pedigree and everything.

We are looking for that connection into the mission because it is not something that money will just do, or it is not something that even work life balance or whatever, you need to feel this. That is where that drive and that passion intersect, and that is when we do the super awesome creative things. So, we have an amazing group coming from a bunch of different backgrounds. I have someone who used to do IP litigation.

I have people who were in medical devices before. One of my bosses was a pharma VP for 20 years. His last position before he came here was at AstraZeneca. So, we have this great diversity of perspectives, but the common binding element is this connection to being part of this mission and being part of the process that drives it. Because like I said, it is not that you see me. It is not like you see my boss or my boss’s boss, but we all know what we have done. That is what gets us coming back the next morning and saying, All right, inbox, what have you given me today? And there is good and there is bad, and you just drive through it because you know what you are doing it for.

Is there anything that other places, whether they are other hospitals or universities could learn from how you do things? What is your secret sauce?

As City of Hope is quite collaborative, we work a lot with a bunch of different hospitals and universities and not just locally. So, we learn from each other all the time. My favourite people that I know are other tech transfer heads that I want to say something nice, pick their brains and get their perspective, but it is really me bugging them.

I say, please give me your wisdom on this so I can be smart. I think the key thing that makes City of Hope unique in how we do our translational development. I think I mentioned this earlier, the streamlined infrastructure on taking things to patients. I think this is where we have been working and honing at this ever since I came actually, and it is getting better and better. So, what are those elements?

Well, one, by virtue being a research hospital, we have our researchers and our physicians right there. They talk to each other all the time. They are constantly coordinating together on projects. You have that initial thing that not every university gets to have. Frankly, not even all the hospitals, sometimes the research institution is physically apart from the hospital. Ours are just right smack up right to each other.

So, they are always there, I would say that to be the first part of it, but I think the other parts, and I get to say that I am part of this, is that the whole concept of from bench to bedside, it is a buzzword. I think the way that the enterprise has dealt with it, especially over the last two decades, it is, How do I pragmatically make that happen? So, what is the first bit? It is, well, you have made an invention. There is a huge amount of stuff and types of research that you need to do to make that even acceptable to put in front of the FDA, a typical basic science, ivory tower, gorgeous science or nature paper that goes into mechanism. That is great you got the mechanism.

 Now, how do I make that into an actual therapy that I can test in a person? All those experiments, all those things that you have to go do, pre-ID enabling studies, all those things we have it set up so that there are resources for our investigators to tap into. When we continue to de-risk it throughout this process, we have even more resources. So, one of the best parts for me too is that we take care of the GMP contracts, is that we have these multiple GMP facilities on campus. We’ve provided all the lenti for BMS’s CAR T for the longest time. We did lenti for Stanford and UPenn for the longest time as well. We make our own cellular therapy product on campus for our patients for our GMP.

On top of that, you have people like me, you have people like my colleague, her name is Cat, the director of our regulatory affairs. We have an entire office and they are amazing group of people who just put the, I do not know if you have ever seen an I&D filing, it is these boxes and boxes of paper. It is more electronic now, but I would see them in the conference room just boxes and boxes of paper to just get through for the initial submission of these things and project managers to help throughout all of this, just to get it in front of the FDA.

Then all the work that happens after the FDA accepts it. Well, getting the data, getting it analysed, how do we do this? And then what do we do next? What happens here is that all those little resources are optimized for de-risking these early-stage assets. As a result, we have a very, very different type of tech transfer than some other places because I have more de-risked assets to be able to go partner up with other companies.

But more importantly, it de-risks technology that goes into patients. That is how it feeds into our mission. Because I am just going to tell you, as much as I love being part of our tech transfer and our commercialization strategy, all the things I just mentioned to you, they were not really made for that reason they were made because the scientists and the doctors, honestly had an almost gorgeous impatience about the idea of, How can I get this into a patient?

And this is what happened over the course of several decades, where us breaking ground to make GMP facilities, us expanding more resources so that we can do our FDA submissions, us getting more facilities so we can do all the I&D enabling studies. This is what that City of Hope has very different than a lot of other organizations. It tries to take the perspective of, what would big pharma do? How would you get this to a patient? How do they do it? Then allocate all the resources that way throughout the pipeline so that we can go forward with it.

You touched on another topic that I was going to ask you about with researchers being impatient. How does your engagement fare from researchers? Is there generally a strong commercialisation culture at City of Hope?

It is a good question to pair with impatience, so I like how you did that. As I mentioned, we were part of how Genentech developed stuff to make monoclonal antibodies happen, which has been an absolute game changer in cancer treatment. We enjoy royalties from that. We are one of the top earners of licensing income out of all of the United States for the academic institutions.

So that is in the back. I think everyone knows that the success is part of the foundation of how we move forward. So, I would say that there is that, but I would probably go back to the impatience about just getting the patients treated because this goes back to the practical benefit that I referred to at the very, very beginning. We know that we have to partner up with other people at one point to take a therapy to the rest of the world.

We know we cannot just do that from our place in Southern California. So, that mindset is there. I would not necessarily say that everybody is running off to go make their own startup company in the garage. But what it is, they will work with us quite a bit to go, they will talk with us. Well, what about this? What do you think, how would we do this? How should we do that? We have made a bunch of NewCos that have gone IPO.

We have made companies that have been acquired by big pharma. We have this in our DNA, but I think it is viewed in that lens of this is that final step, or these are the necessary steps to get the therapy to the patient. So, that is how I would connect it.

That makes perfect sense. If you are a doctor, you do not want to go and set up your startup and be busy with that and take 15 years to build a company and then come back and help patients. Some people might.

Since we have such a healthy environment about balancing that motivation, getting the innovations through and we have had the success that we have had for commercial.

I think you see the PIs in this kind of unique position where it is like, I can still do the thing that I am super passionate about and that I trained for however many decades to be, and I do not have to stress out because this is going to reach people if it is going to reach people. It is a serious trust that we take and we work very hard to make sure that we live up to our end of the bargain with our principal investigators.

That makes sense. There is something else that I picked up on. You mentioned working with US companies nationwide. Is that still your primary focus? Do you also collaborate internationally? What is the balance?

Since we are an American company, we work with more American institutions. It is a proximity thing sometimes. We have more people that we collaborate with in Los Angeles than we do with other people. But I would never say that we would limit ourselves just to the US. I will tell you that, two of the companies that went IPO with us with some of my favourite technologies ever in the last two or three years, my favourite technologies ever, these are actually companies that are listed on the Australian stock exchanges.

They are led by amazing CEOs who are just killing it and taking these innovations, getting them through the clinic, they are doing trials internationally. I would not say that that is where we are only looking at US companies. I will tell you that there have been some changes in the US legal system when it comes to certain types of diagnostics that have changed commercialization strategy for multiple, not just academics and nonprofits, but for-profit companies. That does not mean we are not working with diagnostics.

We did a very big deal with Exact Sciences last year. But as a result of those legal changes, we have been working a lot in places in APAC where it is a growing market. There is a ton of expertise there, particularly in liquid biopsies. I will get on a call with VCs out of China and Hong Kong.

To the point about that family of tech transfer, it goes global. I will call the acting vice president for knowledge transfer at HKUST who is someone I will reach out to and I had a phone call with him just the other day, because he had a question about a certain type of technology for me instead. So, it is never limited to just the US and we try to keep our eyes open on anything where we can see there is a synergy.

You picked up on my favourite question there, which is usually examples of stock companies. I know you mentioned Genentech earlier as well.

If people have heard of Genentech.

It is this very niche company. I think some people might have come across it. But the Australian stock exchange, I find that quite interesting. What were those companies?

I am going to have to tell them that I am going to name drop them. One is called Imaging and the other one is called Chimeric Therapeutics. So, Imaging has a couple things in their pipeline, but some of my favourite stuff that they have especially from us, is an oncolytic virus that helps in combination with cellular therapies to increase potency and effectiveness of different cellular therapies. Gorgeous, elegant, experimental design.

Chimeric is another cellular therapies company that has a technology that goes after glioblastoma, the indication I told you earlier that means a lot to me, that is based on a type of, and I kid you not, a type of venom that can paint the solid tumour in a way that people did not previously think about. Our researchers took that idea of how the venom could do it and then incorporated it as the targeting domain for their serial therapy.

The data is gorgeous. I love everything about it. That is the base technology for Chimeric right now. They are working both in autologous and allogeneic and their CEO, Jennifer Chow is one of my favourite people to talk to.

Something like that just blows my mind because in my head, the jump from poison to cancer therapy, there are so many steps that you have to go through.

I often call that particular technology, my baby technology, because I heard of the idea about venom when I was pregnant. And when I came back from maternity leave, I was completely on top of how we were going to do the commercialization strategy on it. I always know how long I have been working on it, because I just have to think about how old my daughter is. It is gorgeous, elegant, beautiful science, and led by an amazing team of PIs right here at City of Hope. And to the point about international institutions, it is an Australian company.

They work with us, they are working with several other American institutions. I think the CEO is based out in New York as well, they go back and forth and we did this all in the pandemic. So, we do not close the thinking on where it is, who we partner with to go make sure that these therapies reach patients and that all the fine tuning that needs to happen over the course of how many years gets enabled. I know for a fact that Australian companies are becoming attractive because the government is giving really, really nice tax credits for R&D.

So, you see not just smaller, newer companies, you are seeing the funds wanting to put the companies and incorporating it there. Even the larger, big pharma companies, they are moving some of their unique projects into that space. The only thing with Australia is that the time difference does make for very plain-spoken phone calls sometimes.

I am with you there. I have spoken to people in Australia and New Zealand sometimes, and it is very weird. 9pm here and 7amfor them. So, I do not envy you. Is there technology or a treatment for any of these that you hope will come across your desk? Is there a cancer indication or another kind of condition that you want targeted?

I have already mentioned glioblastoma means a lot to me, but, and this may sound corny, I would love an invention that would help people overcome their fears and concerns about being vaccinated right now. If someone is going to ask me that, I have to say that is probably what I really, really want. I want people to get the safety from this pandemic so badly. In that respect, just to mention this, we are a cancer centre, not everybody would think, why would City of Hope, a cancer centre, a diabetes centre, go into infectious diseases? But when the pandemic hit all of us mobilised, our scientists mobilised, our PV, like me, mobilised.

We actually have now a phase two covid vaccine to help with immuno-compromised patients. We are talking about the type of people who land up in the hospital or who go to City of Hope and they maybe cannot take the other vaccines and making sure that they get something and so we got it into phase two. It has been licensed. It is with GeoVax, which is a public traded pharma company. When we talk about Hope and how we go after the things like serious illnesses to go impact lives, it is a great example of that kind of culture that we have.

We would just shift all of a sudden and say, I know we are cancer, but we are going to go work on this right now and put every single resource we can to make this happen. Because we need to look at people who maybe will not be looked at in the same way. So yes, I would love something that would increase the vaccination rates, not just in LA or California or in the US, but just all over the world at this point. That would be the thing that I would probably, if that came across me, I would put every single hour I could to make that happen.

You would have my full support. Whatever support I could give you, you would have it. Talking of things that we wish for, is there anything that is missing from your ecosystem?

Time in the day. Our leadership has been incredibly smart. They are so strategic and so forward thinking. So even the things that are not even publicly known that I know about, they are so good at hearing everybody, not just the heads of departments. They hear everyone, they hear the patients, they hear people like me. They hear the scientists about, what is it that you need? What is it that you need to go do? So, they are really good at this.

That is why I think you see City of Hope   attacking problems like cancer, not just with research and development, but within initiatives like Cancer Care is Different, to go change how patients can get cancer care in the state of California. I think that is why you see all these different things, but to go back to my first comment, yes, I would like more time. If they could possibly give me more time on everything, I just want more hours in the day. I would love it if more people could join, we have lots of open positions, because we want City of Hope to be stronger I think for tech transfer purposes.

I never know how to approach this. This may not sound very articulate, but as you can probably tell, we really focus on de-risking our tech. We have our own multimillion dollar initiatives to select the right types of tech in their stage and say, We are going to go de-risk it. Then with the idea that we would have commercialization strategy where we would partner up with someone. We have all that, but not everybody maybe knows us.

When they get to know us, they see the whole chain and they are like, where have you been? I say, I am right here. So, I do not want to say it is a publicity thing, but I think it comes back to the guy who was part of inventing artificial insulin. He is a very humble person. He is not the kind of guy who just like screams and is in front of everybody showcasing himself or anything like that.

I really love that about our enterprise, that we are not thumping our chests constantly, or that we are doing this massive showmanship thing. I think if more people knew about the things that I am working on, you would probably see more funds or serial entrepreneurs coming up and talking with us as opposed to maybe their natural home bases that you see around the world, because Duarte like I said, it is moving away from Pasadena. LA is spread out to begin with. Not everybody thinks, wait, there is that massive cancer centre right off the 210 that all the billboards are about. I think that is probably the big thing that I would love for commercialization purposes.

When it does come to startups, how easy or difficult is it to find the right people and the money for those?

This is the existential question for tech transfer people. I will tell you that when the science is beautiful, like the techs I just told you about, it is not actually that hard and I have always said it to our scientists. You give me a good presentation at ASH. You just remember when everyone is asking you just to send them to me. A good presentation at ASH, a really nice data in Nature, these are the things that bring in people.

This again is about having a very focused pipeline. At a university, where you have a bunch of engineering students or programmers, you might want to have resources that make it a little bit easier for them to do like hackathons and to get seed startup money for the company they are going to do. It is so different because everything for our stuff has to be de-risked. You just cannot do a medical device out of your garage.

You should not do a medical device out of your garage. So, for that, and as I think you can see the theme is, we just go back to the science always. Most of my group were all scientists in a previous life so, it is just you go back to the science. If the science is gorgeous, then we will find a way to make this happen. If the science is gorgeous, we will get the resources to de-risk this and get this into a patient. The further you de-risk, the more likely the companies, the VCs, whatever, they will come to you anyway. This is the distinction I think of being at a place where you are trying to define your market size based on what segment of the population your app is going to go for. This is a very, very salient distinction between a university and a hospital.

So, I think for that, I think it is easier except that getting there is not easy. I would say for that part before the gorgeous data comes in, it gets probably super difficult, like super, super difficult. But once we start really getting into the tech that is approaching the disease in an efficient, effective way, then the pieces fall together. It is really about the best commercialization path for a type of asset like this.

I have a slightly different question still about people. How does your engagement fare when it comes to diversity and inclusion from researchers and your own team?

When I first came in 2013, I think I was the only female manager. I am proud to say that we, my group in particular and the way I do recruitment, we are very aware of the power of diversity and inclusion and the kinds of things you need to do to make it very successful. I think by virtue of having more people or women of colour in leadership roles, you will find that more candidates of the quality you need, who are from different backgrounds will come apply, because they just feel more safe. So, I get to enjoy that as well.

As for the enterprise, the thing is, science in itself, it does not care who is doing the experiment. For decades it has been this global effort. So, if you are trying to get the best talent, you do not care in a way, but it just naturally forms a lot of diversity because you are getting someone from China, you are getting someone from Italy, you are getting someone from LATAM, you are getting all these people all around the world and I am happy about how many different people from so many different backgrounds I get to work with on a regular basis. I am also very happy, I mentioned the GBM tech I am so close to. It is spearheaded by the most amazing female scientist, a pioneer in cellular therapies and I am so proud to have made sure that her technologies have gotten commercialised.

But to the point the enterprise has, since the time I have been there, made it a bigger, more central focus. We have this great, just amazing woman named Angela Townsend, who is our chief diversity officer. She is very dogged in her pursuits to making sure that D&I is infused into the DNA at City of Hope to the extent that it is not already. But we always can improve and it is great to tease them sometimes.

There is something wonderful about that too, because that means everyone is aware. So, I get to go say that my bosses are older white men, but I can tell you with an absolute straight face that they are allies by every meaning of the word. So, to me, it is a very special culture that we try to do at City of Hope as an enterprise. Then in our own teams, there is no other way we do it.

I mean, I get that. I am a white man. There is no hiding the fact. I cannot change that. But being an ally or giving a voice to not white men.

The allyship is something that I will tell you I do not think every single organisation focuses on. It is something that at least I can tell you that the leaders above me are just exceptionally good at. I am very proud to work under these. I mean, I also give my bosses hell on a daily basis. So, I mean, I really should give them this, but it does mean something to be part of something progressive. That is huge.

What prompted you to join City of Hope then? How did you get into this job?  

It is funny for me that I was going to be a researcher and I really was. I was going to be a PI professor, that kind of thing. Lots of things in life changed a bit of that. I was actually working in IP boutique firm. I got some advice from someone who had seen me do well in this meeting, saying,

You should either go into the business strategy side, business development side, or you need to go to law school and become a partner. This is the way that you can deliver impact because I know it is important to you. I kid you not, two weeks later after having that call, someone told me, hey, do you know that there is a research business development position open at City of Hope? I am like, no, I did not know that. That is so strange and you just brought that up.

So, my boss, Dr George Megaw personally recruited me and he said to me that if I had an idea that could make it better for the patients, he would help me vet it and he would throw everything he could for it. Honest to god, he absolutely followed through even [intentional mumbling] and a half years later, he still does. So, this means there is tech transfer. Let us just talk about the license agreements, the collaboration agreements, the SRAs, that kind of stuff, but it also means things like in the pandemic I got to do the first hackathon for Hope, which we did with Facebook, where Facebook worked with our blood donor group to go help make campaigns to increase blood donations. Blood products are huge to how you do treatment for cancer patients.

So, this was an intersection of commercialization but with the non-profit focus, or that patient focus, which I am not sure every single tech transfer office can do and they continue to let me, I say let me, but they continue to let me do to different, interesting projects for patient needs and I still get to do and see the most interesting inventions. It keeps me going every day.

Amazing. Is there anything you would say to someone starting out in tech transfer today or looking to join you at City of Hope, a new recruit?

Oh, wow. I really should have an answer to that immediately. But I think for City of Hope, we tend to have a pretty high retention rate. I think if you work for me, but maybe that is the way I should preface it. The thing that I would ask the people is, I want you to keep a long and holistic view of things and I want you to have that view in everything you do. It is very easy I think for some people in tech transfer to be like, it is an invention, we have to file the patent, it is an MTA. This is something I very much push against.

I say, this MTA is transferring material from one lab to another, so we can work on this therapy. This patent application will be the first component to how we can maybe structure a deal to do commercialization, which would lead into a phase one or a phase two trial. This is that longer game, that holistic view. It is so easy to just go through the day to day, but in my group, because we have the ability to de-risk, to do the translational development, that is the thing I probably have to ask people, I need you to keep a longer view on things.

I need you to go look at it and you make it work for you so you can learn what you need to learn so that you can make that long view happen. It is like the difference between a day trader versus someone who knows how to do values investment, like Warren buffet style. It is that kind of a difference of thinking. So, the common line that everybody hears out of me when they first work for me is, I am happy to go give you dessert, but you have to eat your vegetables first.

I focus a lot on fundamentals and understanding all these little things, but please eat your vegetables, but we will get to dessert.

I quite like that. We are almost out of time. Is there anything else that you want people to know about City of Hope or something you want to reiterate?

Again, if anyone has questions about City of Hope, but I am always happy to talk to anyone. If they want to do collaborations of any kind. If I cannot do it, I will find someone who will. It is still that kind of organization where you can just send out an email to a couple of heads and be like, I do not know who can help me, but could you, could someone help me help someone else?

It is a great family thing in that way. But I guess the thing in my head I am thinking about right now to sign off on is there is a blood shortage right now, not just in this country, but everywhere. So, for anyone who might listen, please donate blood if you can. You will be saving lives and you will be helping research move forward and you will be making it just a slightly better through what has been a very long pandemic.

I think those are very good closing words and a good call to action. Thank you. It has been a huge pleasure to talk to you and learn more about City of Hope. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Thank you.

Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).