Sunday, January 08, 2006

Studying the Science of Surfing

It's just like science say the biotech "dudes" who combine business and surfing in the Pacific Ocean near San Diego.

"In San Diego's booming biomedical industry, opportunity tends to come in waves — the kind found at La Jolla Shores or Black's Beach or Scripps Pier. Surfing has become a way to make contacts, get face time with the boss and arrange deals," wrote reporter Denise Gellene in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

They call them "board" meetings and report that "it's where the best business gets done." One surfer, Steve Mayfield, named his company, Rincon Pharmaceuticals Inc., after a surfing spot somewhat farther north on the California coast. Mayfield is also an associate professor of cell biology at the Scripps Research Institute.

Laura Shawver, chief executive of Phenomix Corp., said riding the waves has something in common with biotech.

"This is just like science. You must be very persistent. You can have spectacular wipeouts followed by the high of your life. And you are always looking for the next one."

We should report that we surfed a spot in La Jolla early in December but did not see any major stem cell breakthroughs or deals being hatched. But again it is about being in the right place at the right time.

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