California Life Sciences Expands Startup Commercialization Program to SoCal Hubs



SAN DIEGO, LOS ANGELES, ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – California Life Sciences (CLS), the state’s life sciences membership organization, is expanding its acclaimed FAST Advisory program for life science startups to Southern California. FAST has helped more than 150 startups in the Bay Area (since 2013) and internationally (since 2018). The new FAST SoCal program will bring customized, expert-advising to entrepreneurs in the San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles ecosystems.

To lead the effort of expanding FAST to Southern California, CLS is adding two new hires to the team. Sibylle Hauser, formerly a strategic advisor with focus on positioning for capital at Richtr Financial Studio, has joined CLS as executive director of Innovation Services. Hauser has built a strong VC and investor network through her years chairing the national Women In Bio (WIB)- Entrepreneur Center. Stephanie Allen, Ph.D., joins CLS as director of Innovation Services. Allen is the former CEO and Founder of Canvas Health.

“For years we’ve been asked by startups and other life science stakeholders if we could bring FAST to Southern California,” said Lori Lindburg, CLS Senior Vice President of Innovation and Inclusion. “We’re so pleased to have Sibylle and Stephanie on board to collaborate with others in the region to support an ever-increasing pool of early-stage life science innovators who are hungry for customized commercialization advising and funding.”

“I understand what life science startups need to start, scale and accelerate, after decades of working to help them raise funding,” Hauser said. “I’m excited to support the SoCal startup ecosystem, especially first-time life science founders, through CLS and FAST.  In my experience, there is no comparable program with the same depth and breadth of experience that FAST brings to emerging therapeutic, diagnostic, and medical device companies.”

“FAST will be a great complement to a growing group of stakeholders who are committed to ensuring the success of viable life sciences innovation in California,” Dr. Allen added. “In addition to replicating its successful benchmarks for emerging life sciences companies in Southern California, we are eager to help build on FAST’s track record of supporting diverse life science founders.”

Launching this summer, the no-cost, non-dilutive FAST SoCal program will run twice per year, presenting and hosting some of the region’s most compelling life science startups at showcases and networking receptions that will further help weave together Southern California’s dynamic life sciences ecosystem.

“The FAST program was like three accelerator programs parlayed together in one setting,” said Dr. Kay Olmstead, CEO of Nanopharma Solutions, a San Diego-based startup and FAST graduate. “The company-specific, tailored program allowed us to set weekly goals, and advisors were great accountability partners. Focused input by area experts helped us address our gaps.”

Earlier this spring, CLS announced a new collaboration with Women In Bio. The WIB-FAST program will elevate early-stage life science companies founded by women to prepare them for high-visibility opportunities to pitch to investors in conjunction with the BIO International Convention. Similarly, CLS supports the MedTech Color Pitch Competition and the QuickFire Challenge for Diverse Innovators/Communities, which sends select winners of both through the FAST program—growing the pool of diverse life sciences startups in the FAST community.


About the CLS FAST program: The FAST Advisory Program provides select entrepreneurs with intensive team review and coaching to perfect their business model and product development plans and to build a compelling commercialization strategy. Since launching in Fall 2013, FAST California program cycles have generated more than 9000 advisory hours valued at over $2M for the 96 companies who have been through the program. Since participating in FAST, these companies have raised >$2.4B and created over 790 new jobs, more than tripling their workforce. Over 36 of these companies have secured Series A and beyond, and 21 have concluded strategic partnerships. To date, approximately 50% of FAST companies had a woman in the C-suite, most as founders and CEOs.

About California Life Sciences: California Life Sciences (CLS) is the state’s most influential and impactful life sciences membership organization, advocating for the sector and its diverse innovation pipeline. For more than 30 years, CLS has served the community by supporting companies of all sizes, from early-stage innovators and startups to established industry leaders in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology. CLS also works closely with universities, academic and research institutions, the investment community, and other critical partners that promote this vibrant sector. With offices in South San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, CLS works to shape public policy, improve access to breakthrough technologies, educate lawmakers, and advance equity within our ecosystem by championing innovative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges of our times. In doing so, CLS fulfills its mission to protect and nurture California’s life sciences industry, empowering discoveries that lead to healthier lives around the world. #WeAreCaliforniaLifeSciences