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Startup to Work With Amgen Execs

Amgen Inc. and Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation announced Diadem Biotherapeutics as the recipient of the first Amgen Golden Ticket in Southern California.  

Diadem is researching “synthetic biosignaling” to treat with autoimmune diseases and cancer. 

As winner of the Golden Ticket, the company will have a year of lab space at BioLabs LA at Lundquist Institute in Torrance. Also, it will have access to additional facility benefits and connections to science and business leaders at Amgen in Thousand Oaks.   

“The BioLabs at the Lundquist Institute shared laboratory space was created to help high-potential life science and biotech startups overcome key obstacles for many early-stage organizations, including access to laboratory infrastructure, programming and business development mentorship,” Dr. Philip Tagari, Amgen’s vice president of Therapeutic Discovery, wrote in an email to the Business Journal.  

Diadem was selected by a team of Amgen scientists at a virtual pitch event where five finalists presented their business plans. The plans were evaluated on the “strength and novelty of their scientific rationale, subject matter expertise and business plan viability,” according to a statement.  

Historically, Amgen has provided funding and support for more than 20 life science and biotech startups since 2015, according to Tagari. The Golden Ticket received by Diadem is the first of three that Amgen has committed to awarding from 2021 to 2023.  

“We were very impressed and excited by the innovative science presented by Diadem Biotherapeutics, and their aspiration to bring forward the next generation of immunomodulatory therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, both disease areas of focus for Amgen as well,” Tagari wrote.  

“With the extensive resources at BioLabs LA and access to Amgen expertise, we can accelerate the development of a new class of therapeutics that has the potential to enhance patient-care outcomes across a range of diseases,” Dr. Mickey Pentecost, Diadem co-founder and chief executive, said in a statement.  

Amgen will announce another call for Golden Ticket proposals later this year. 

Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio Pequeño IV
Antonio “Tony” Pequeño IV is a reporter covering health care, finance and law for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. He specializes in reporting on some of the biggest names in the Valley’s biotechnology sector. In addition to his work with the Business Journal, Tony has reported with BuzzFeed News on the unsupervised use of Clearview AI, a controversial facial recognition technology. Tony, who also conducts freelance reporting, graduated from the USC’s Master of Science in Journalism program in 2021. He is in his fifth year as a journalist as of 2021.
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