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Corporation
HEALTHCARE | Medical Facilities & Services
sandiegobloodbank.org

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About San Diego Blood Bank

San Diego Blood Bank is a non-profit organization that provides blood to the majority of hospitals. It is based in San Diego, California.

San Diego Blood Bank Headquarter Location

3636 Gateway Center Avenue Suite 100

San Diego, California, 92102,

United States

Latest San Diego Blood Bank News

For the first time ever, a life science company spins out of San Diego’s blood bank

Nov 5, 2021

Print For the first time in its 70-year history, the San Diego Blood Bank is spinning off a life science company in a bid to use blood cells to treat cancer, autoimmunity and other deadly diseases, the organization announced Friday. Community Bio will function as an independent, for-profit company. The firm plans to supply other life science companies and research groups with the materials they’ll need to develop and test so-called cell therapies, which use cells rather than teeny molecules or bulky proteins to treat disease. This story is for subscribers We offer subscribers exclusive access to our best journalism. Thank you for your support. It’s an approach with the potential to reshape medicine, according to David Wellis, the blood bank’s CEO, who notes that the Food and Drug Administration has already approved certain forms of cell therapy to target specific cancers. Advertisement “Who better than a blood bank to support cell therapy?” said Wellis, adding that the organization processes about 120,000 units of blood a year, each of them jam-packed with cells. “It made a ton of sense.” Wellis will leave his current position to become Community Bio’s new CEO, though he’s not going far. The 19-employee company will initially rent space and operate within the blood bank’s headquarters on Gateway Center Avenue. San Diegans who give blood can consent to have some of it used for Community Bio’s research. In return, the blood bank gets an ownership stake in the company. Wellis wouldn’t disclose the exact percentage, but he said it was significant and in the double-digit range. While supplying hospitals with blood remains the priority, a small tube’s worth of blood set aside from a standard 1-pint donation is plenty for most of the company’s work. That work will include analyzing, purifying and, in some cases, growing specific cell types in the lab. The company’s also got the training and certification to genetically modify cells that can be used in clinical research. That’s an approach central to CAR-T therapy, a cancer treatment strategy in which researchers take a patient’s own immune cells, equip them to recognize and attack a particular cancer, and return those cells to the patient. Community Bio’s services are likely to be high demand, as San Diego’s fast becoming a hotspot for cell therapy. Companies such as Shoreline Biosciences, Fate Therapeutics, Poseida Therapeutics and Artiva Biotherapeutics are all developing cell therapies to target various cancers, inflammatory diseases and other disorders. Shoreline Biosciences is one of several local companies engineering immune cells to efficiently seek and destroy cancer cells. Wellis is intimately familiar with the biotech world; he was part of it for decades. He came to San Diego in 2002 to start a company that was devising better ways to store DNA. Wellis later joined Illumina to lead the sequencing giant’s product development team before becoming president of BioAtla, a biotech in the Torrey Pines area that works on new way to create antibody therapies for disease. Since joining the blood bank in 2013, he’s expanded its role in supporting biomedical research. Thousands of San Diego blood bankers are now part of a national research project called All of Us , a push by the National Institutes of Health to use data from 1 million volunteers to unravel how our environment, genetics and lifestyle shape our health. The blood bank has also provided samples to a range of medical device companies and biotechs running clinical trials. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization partnered with Genalyte, a life science company, to screen blood donations for coronavirus antibodies in hopes of finding people who’d already recovered from the virus and whose antibodies could help treat those currently battling an infection. The joint effort will identify COVID-19 survivors whose antibodies may treat the disease in others “For me personally, the legacy is, how do we leverage what the blood bank does to further improve health?” Wellis said. The 58-year-old is the blood bank’s highest-paid employee and received $456,000 in total compensation in 2020, according to public documents . Doug Morton, the organization’s chief operating officer and chief information officer, will become interim CEO while the blood bank looks for a new chief executive. Morton, who got $230,000 in total compensation last year, will be one of the candidates. Wellis doesn’t know of any other blood banks that have spun out companies. But he points out that this sort of thing happens all the time in academia. San Diego’s biotech industry is filled with companies that have emerged from UC San Diego, the Salk Institute, Scripps and other local research powerhouses. The blood bank had already been supporting cell therapy research, but Wellis says forming a separate company will make it easier for Community Bio to raise money. A statement issued Friday by both organizations notes that cell therapy startups raised nearly $20 billion in 2020, up 50 percent from the prior year. The new company is being bankrolled by a Bay Area venture capital firm, though the investors prefer to remain anonymous and not to disclose how much they’ve contributed. If Community Bio goes public or gets bought out, the blood bank’s stake could lead to a sizeable payoff for the organization. Wellis is counting on it, noting that most blood banks barely break even. San Diego’s blood bank is no exception. Documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service show the organization pulled in a bit more than $41 million in revenue last year but incurred more than $40 million in expenses. That’s a profit margin of around 2 percent. “Can I make it so that the blood bank is financially stable for another 70 years?” Wellis said. “I would love that.”

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San Diego Blood Bank Patents

San Diego Blood Bank has filed 1 patent.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Biotechnology
  • Cell biology
  • Clusters of differentiation
patents chart

Application Date

Grant Date

Title

Related Topics

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8/13/2020

Cell biology, Biotechnology, Stem cells, Clusters of differentiation, Molecular biology

Application

Application Date

8/13/2020

Grant Date

Title

Related Topics

Cell biology, Biotechnology, Stem cells, Clusters of differentiation, Molecular biology

Status

Application

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