FAST California provides early-stage first-time founders of disruptive innovative life science technology companies with a customized advisory program to perfect their business models, assess strategic focus, maximize IP and help develop a milestone and scale-up plan to exit. A group of curated advisors, each with deep domain expertise, will work with them over twelve weeks to build a compelling commercialization strategy and prepare them for an Innovation Showcase to a curated audience of potential investors and collaboration partners. The CLS FAST program is open to companies that have no more than 12 employees, have raised less than $5 million, are precommercial, and are developing highly innovative, impactful products.

Apply For FAST

Spring FAST 2023

The Spring 2023 program will run March—May and match entrepreneurs with a tailored group of investors, analysts, and strategists from across the value chain for 8-12 hours of customized guidance over a three-month period—at no cost and with no equity taken. In 2023, the FAST cohort will have two dedicated tracks focused on 1) a WIB FAST track for early-stage women founders/co-founders of pre-revenue life sciences companies and 2) a dedicated MedTech track geared toward early-stage startups creating disruptive technologies with high impact in diagnostics, medtech/device, prescription digital diagnostics, and digital health as well as translational R&D tool companies like organoids.

The application process for the Spring 2023 program has closed. If you are interested in applying for the next cohort of our bi-annual advisory program, please fill out an application.

Program Outline

  1. Participate in up to 12 business-focused advisory meetings with seasoned industry mentors;
  2. Connect with CLS’s community of member companies and industry stakeholders by attending happy hours and other networking events;
  3. Present at CLS’s Innovation Day and FAST Closing Showcase in June- an exclusive opportunity to meet and build relationships with investors and collaboration partners;
  4. Benefit from exclusive discounts and curated presentation opportunities at the industry’s leading partnering and investors events, including RESI, BIO, Biotech Showcase, among others;
  5. One year complimentary CLS membership ($200 value), offering unparalleled access to a community of peers that support bringing new bioscience discoveries to market;
  6. And, as a CLS member, access a community of founders, stakeholders and influencers in different technology and industry sectors.

Key Dates

  • Jan 5, 2023 Application deadline
  • Jan 2023 FAST participants announced
  • Jan 23-25, 2023 Review panel (virtual)
  • Jan-Feb 2023 Pre-program meetings (virtual): Deep-dive to assess company needs
  • March 20, 2023 Kick off meeting (virtual)
  • Mar- Jun 2023 FAST Advisory Sessions – Each company meets with their advisors on a weekly basis (virtual)
  • Jun 21, 2023 FAST closing showcase event in collaboration with partners (South San Francisco)

Apply For FAST

Our Impact

Fall FAST 2022 Companies

  • Acelot | Acelot is an early stage biotechnology startup developing small molecules that inhibitmultiple toxic protein species associated with neurodegenerative diseases
  • Angeles Therapeutics | Angeles Therapeutics is a next generation cell therapy company. Angelesis confident that with its next generation CAR design, it has solved the problem of lack of efficacy of CARs in solid tumors
  • BioMark Oncology | BioMark Oncology is a translationally enabled, preclinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing a platform to further the use of response biomarkers in clinical trials.
  • F5 Therapeutics | f5 Therapeutics Incorporated is a privately-held pharmaceutical company that is expanding the scope of degradable targets in the targeted protein degradation arena via our NExMods™ platform.
  • TAB Diagnostics | Tab Diagnostics is a non-invasive diabetes testing and monitoring company developing the first portable saliva-based, graphene field-effect transistor assay to measure Glycated Albumin (diabetic biomarker).
  • Weatherwax | Weatherwax Biotechnologies is a seed-stage startup developing the next generation of induced-proximity medicines.

View Portfolio of Past FAST Companies

Spring FAST 2022 Companies

  • Cache DNA | Cache DNA is building a biologically-inspired operating system to store and compute biomolecules at unprecedented scales.
  • Cellular Vehicles | Cellular Vehicles is creating hardware to Enable the Next-Generation of Cell Therapy Treatments
  • Glyphic Bio | Glyphic Biotechnologies is developing a single-molecule next-generation protein sequencer to enable the development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics.
  • Hopo Therapeutics | HOPO Therapeutics develops best-in-class, orally available small molecule therapies to prevent and treat lead poisoning and other unmet needs in global women’s and children’s health.
  • Loxagen | Loxagen was started by industry and research veterans to target the family of Lipoxygenases involved in the pathogenesis of oncology, metabolic and CNS disease.
  • MabSwitch | MabSwitch, Inc is a biotechnology company that aims to develop in-vivo regulatable next generation antibody immunotherapies based on a proprietary universal allosteric switch module for antibodies(UNASMA) technology platform, to address diseases of significant unmet medical need.

View Portfolio of Past FAST Companies

FAST Track Partners

Servier Discovery Award:  Companies and academia who are developing innovative therapeutic approaches in the following disease areas of oncology; auto-immune diseases; and genetically driven neurodegenerative and movement disorders are encouraged applied for the new Servier Discovery Award. The winner will be selected to participate in the CLS FAST Fall cohort—a program that matches entrepreneurs with a custom team of advisors for intensive team review.

MESH Academy at the Keck School of Medicine of USC: A new dedicated FAST-USC MESH track will bring FAST advisory services to entrepreneurs from USC as part of CLS’ expansion of the FAST program to Southern California. The FAST-USC MESH track will serve two USC faculty-led startups annually, providing them with about $25 thousand of pro bono advisory services.

CLS Inspire QuickFire Challenge for BIPOC Communities: California-based innovators are invited to submit potential solutions for BIPOC communities which have been historically marginalized. The innovator(s) with the best potential solution will receive grant funding from a total pool of $150,000, one year of complimentary CLS membership to allow awardees visibility through CLS events and programs and access to new and existing collaboration partners. One awardee will be invited to participate in the 2023 Spring FAST Program, receiving commercialization advising from a tailored group of industry veterans.

FAST MedTechColor Track: CLS supports the MedTech Color Pitch Competition which sends select winners of both through the FAST program—growing the pool of diverse life sciences startups in the FAST community.

WIB-FAST Advisory Track: The WIB-FAST track is open to early-stage female (co-)founders of pre-revenue life sciences companies who are developing highly innovative technologies that will have a meaningful impact on human or environmental health. WIB-FAST is designed to help women entrepreneurs who seek advising on raising capital (Angel, Seed or Series A), commercialization or business plans, and legal or scientific strategy.

Interested in Learning More?

Shikha Sharma, PhD
Senior Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Innovation Services
[email protected]
510 384 9108