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Biotech Exec Discusses The Space Needs Of Early Stage Companies

Growth by San Diego life sciences/biotech firms has created a deficiency in available life sciences lab space, with direct vacancy at 8.1% in the second quarter of 2016, according to a JLL report, causing investors to convert office buildings and obsolete industrial facilities to biotech space. Bisnow caught up with Nanomedical Diagnostics CEO and co-founder Ross Bundy, who is among the life sciences experts presenting at Bisnow's Healthcare Leadership and Life Sciences Forum on Sept. 28, to learn about the space needs of the region’s smaller, early stage companies.


Ranked third in the nation for attracting venture capital, San Diego is one of the most prominent cities for life sciences/biotech R&D. Early stage and established firms in this sector attracted $1.16B in venture capital last year and $567M so far this year, according to the MoneyTree report.


Inspired by nanotechnology work done by partner and co-founder Brett Goldsmith, a former US Navy scientist who now serves as the company’s chief technology officer, Nanomedical Diagnostics was launched to develop new products with graphene-based AGILE technology that enable novel life sciences research, drug discovery applications, and diagnostic and monitoring platforms.

Ross says AGILE R100, which links biology with electronics, provides accurate, streamlined processes to analyze diagnostic tests and vaccines. It also is useful for evaluating the efficacy and potential side effects of therapeutics in the pre-clinical stage, giving researchers greater confidence in the success of their animal trials, he says.


AGILE is composed of biological field-effect transistors (BioFETs) built with graphene, a highly sensitive form of carbon. AGILE utilizes graphene to directly fuse the biology being studied with electronics, allowing for a significant sensitivity of detection and quantified measurement of biomolecular interactions. AGILE’s strength is that the analysis can occur in real time, providing accurate kineitics and concentration data. (Pictured is an AGILE assay and grahene surface.)

Nanomedical has a had a long-standing collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate AGILE as a platform to rapidly develop new diagnostic tests, with a significant amount of that work focused on improved Lyme disease diagnostics. Nanomedical also has customers and collaborations at Stanford, UCSD and some therapeutic firms.

Beginning in a 1k SF space, Nanomedical Diagnostics now occupies 4,500 SF in a converted Sorrento Mesa industrial building, but is looking for a larger space to accommodate growth. “We have 12 employees now, but are getting to a point where we need to add more people,” he says. “We’re evaluating places around here—Mira Mesa and Sorrento Mesa, which has a mix of biotech and manufacturing facilities with truck access,” he says, pointing out biotech companies have different needs based on what they produce.


“Amenities are nice, but not at the top of our list,” Ross says. “We are an instrumentation manufacturer, so the trick for us is to find a space with a large open floor plate to manufacture electronics that provides truck access. We don’t need a loading dock, but a roll-up door is desired to accommodate trucks. This rules out most facilities in the Torrey Pines life sciences cluster, which are set up as research and wet lab space."

Ross also says the Sorrento Mesa area has lower rents than Torrey Pines, where rents are $5 to $6/SF, compared to $3 to $4/SF in the Sorrento Mesa area.

Hear more from Ross and other local life sciences and biotech experts at Bisnow’s Heathcare Leadership and Life Sciences Forum on Sept. 28, beginning at 7:30am with breakfast and networking at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown.