Jay Goth flew to London in mid-May with a purpose. While millions of others converged on Windsor Castle for the marriage of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, Goth set forth on his own impressive mission: chairing the infrastructure and investment track at the World Precision Medicine Conference, the first owner of an incubator to speak at the event.
“The conference was great, getting the people together who are funding research and businesses to practice precision medicine,” the co-founder (with John Powers) of Murietta Genomics said. “We’re getting away from group medicine – group diagnoses and treatments — and focusing on treating to an individual’s biology. Genomics is crucial in this, since it covers many ‘-omics’ in medicine. The more funding and research we can create, the more new discoveries we can bring to market.”
As he spoke, Goth was opening the blinds to his office in the Murietta Innovation Center in Southern California’s Inland Empire, thousands of miles from festive London. Murietta Genomics focuses primarily on precision medicine research and application, but is also primed to serve agriculture, forensics, consumer products, and veterinary medicine.
One Part Genomics Service Provider, One Part Innovation Incubator
Between San Diego’s biopharm community, Orange County’s medical tech, and LA’s university-rich environment, Murietta Genomics is perfectly located as the only genomics testing service provider in Southern California.
That is one end of the business. The other involves Goth’s and Powers’ determination to help promising ideas become contributors to genomics and medicine — their new incubator.
“A lot of people are coming up with great ideas in genomics, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics, but there’s no access to research equipment, and they don’t have a business plan,” Goth said. “We help them build their business over a 6- to 8-month time frame, giving them a space to work and free access to research equipment. If their idea pans out and they have a business model, then we provide seed funding for them.”
Goth continued, “Since we serve local healthcare groups and those outside the area, doing their genomic testing for them, our service revenue can drive our operational costs. We can use our service revenues to fund startups.”
The incubator lab is still under construction, but Goth and Powers have begun taking on fledgling companies — or clients with great ideas that will one day become businesses. Goth’s managing partner status at Forentis Fund, an early stage biotech VC, adds the funding piece nicely. Eventually, he sees 12 to 15 companies per year launching from the Murietta Genomics incubator. “Even after they leave, if we provide seed funding, our goal is to stay involved through their lifecycle,” Goth explained.
There is also a long view to Murietta Genomics’ dual structure of incubator-service provider: building a workforce in the Inland Empire. “Most jobs in our sector, and most who work in our sector in the Inland Empire, come from San Diego and Orange counties,” Goth said. “We have primarily service jobs here. We’re working with (the city of) Temecula and Riverside County right now to see how we can keep our talented people who grow up here.”
“At the Murietta Innovation Center,” Goth said, “we’re starting to bring late-phase R&D in pharmaceuticals into the area. Now, we want to keep the people who go to school here, who graduate from UC-Riverside or Loma Linda University, to grow our own tech cluster. And we’re starting to do it.”