2017 Bio International Convention

June 20, 2017

Brain on Drugs

Kurt Kruger of WR Hambrecht + Co speaks at Annual Bio International Panel

San Diego, June 20: Kurt Kruger, Partner – Healthcare, at WR Hambrecht + Co, will present his financing prospective at the Bio International Convention Panel titled:
The Brain on Drugs: New Views and Approaches to Combatting Substance Abuse and Addiction.

The modern-day plague that we broadly refer to as substance abuse will be in focus at a panel session at the well-attended BIO conference in San Diego. We urgently need effective new therapies to combat this epidemic but for a variety of reasons, early stage companies with promising clinical-stage compounds have considerable difficulty in securing adequate funding.

Substance abuse, whether nicotine, alcohol, opioid pain-killers or illicit drugs, is costly to our nation, exacting more than $700 billion per annum in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare. Recently, the Surgeon General of the United States issued a comprehensive report on the problem, stating that rather than a moral failing, substance abuse disorders ought to be regarded as a chronic disease of the brain deserving of compassion and care. This session brings together a group of experts to discuss the problem, especially the growing epidemic of opioid addiction, including the science behind substance dependency and addiction, the social and economic scope of its effects, the current approaches to treatment and the innovative new therapeutics in development.

In addition to WR Hambrecht + Co’s Kruger, other panel members include Dr. Nora Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health and Dr. Eric Weiss, M.D., of Stanford University, a specialist in Emergency Medicine and Infectious Diseases. The panel will be moderated by Stephen L. Hurst, JD the CEO of Savant HWP – a company that is developing a promising therapeutic to treat substance abuse.

Stephen L. Hurst, JD, President and CEO of Savant HWP and Moderator

Savant HWP is a company focused on undervalued opportunities to develop products with potentially high medical impact, including the treatment of addiction.

Mr. Hurst has more than 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and has contributed to the success of numerous complex and challenging healthcare projects. As the Chief Business Officer for The Immune Tolerance Institute (2007-2011), he helped establish a human immune monitoring institute for The Regents of the University of California that discovers and develops immune biomarkers. As a consultant to The World Bank and BIO Ventures for Global Health (2005-2009), he helped establish an innovative funding mechanism for pneumococcal vaccines for the developing world (PneumoAMC), including capacity for two billion vaccine doses and funding of more than $4 billion over the next decade. As Founder, President & CEO of Sequential, Inc. (2002-2004), his team acquired and developed a clinical-stage oncology drug for the treatment of multi-drug resistance. While at Inhale Therapeutic Systems, Inc., (now Nektar Therapeutics, Inc.) (1994-2002), he held several senior executive positions, including Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, interim Senior Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Intellectual Property and Licensing and Head of Business Development and helped the company grow to over 700 employees, raise more than $700 million in investment capital and out-license multiple clinical development projects, generating revenues in excess of $100 million annually. Mr. Hurst is a graduate of Golden Gate University, School of Law and the University of California, Berkeley.


Kurt Kruger, Partner, Healthcare, WR Hambrecht & Co.

Kurt has enjoyed a 30-year career in Medical Technology. His deep involvement in the field has ranged from product design and development as a biomedical engineer to raising capital for, and following, publicly traded medical product companies as an equities research analyst. As a marketing manager at Guidant, now a part of Boston Scientific, Kruger developed the launch plans for the first-ever implantable defibrillator. As a securities analyst, he showed perspicuity leading Hambrecht & Quist in providing venture funds for, and then taking public, Ventritex, which was later acquired by St. Jude Medical. After H&Q, Kruger worked as an analyst for Montgomery Securities and Bank of America. Across twenty years of research work, Kruger oversaw the IPOs for over 30 medical products companies. For the last three years Kruger has headed up the Life Sciences banking effort for WR Hambrecht + Co. Kruger received an Sc.B. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University; a Master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Michigan; and a business degree (S.M.) from the Sloan School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also completed the premedical post-baccalaureate program at Columbia University.

Dr. Nora Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health

NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. Dr. Volkow’s work has been instrumental in demonstrating that drug addiction is a disease of the human brain. As a research psychiatrist and scientist, Dr. Volkow pioneered the use of brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs. Her studies have documented changes in the dopamine system affecting, among others, the functions of frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive, and pleasure in addiction. She has also made important contributions to the neurobiology of obesity, ADHD, and aging. Dr. Volkow was born in Mexico, attended the Modern American School, and earned her medical degree from the National University of Mexico in Mexico City, where she received the Robins award for best medical student of her generation. Her psychiatric residency was at New York University, where she earned the Laughlin Fellowship Award as one of the 10 Outstanding Psychiatric Residents in the USA. Dr. Volkow spent most of her professional career at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York, where she held several leadership positions including Director of Nuclear Medicine, Chairman of the Medical Department, and Associate Director for Life Sciences. In addition, Dr. Volkow was a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Associate Dean of the Medical School at the State University of New York (SUNY)-Stony Brook. Dr. Volkow has published more than 600 peer-reviewed articles and written more than 95 book chapters and non-peer-reviewed manuscripts, and has also edited three books on neuroimaging for mental and addictive disorders. During her professional career, Dr. Volkow has been the recipient of multiple awards. In 2013, she was a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammies) finalist; and she was inducted into the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) Hall of Fame. She was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences and received the International Prize from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research for her pioneering work in brain imaging and addiction science. She has been named one of Time magazine’s “Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” “One of the 20 People to Watch” by Newsweek magazine, Washingtonian magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women” and “Innovator of the Year” by U.S. News & World Report. Dr. Volkow was the subject of a 2012 profile piece by CBS’s 60 Minutes and was a featured speaker at TEDMED 2014.

Eric Weiss, M.D., The Village Doctor

Dr. Eric Weiss joined the faculty at Stanford University in 1991 and holds positions in both Emergency Medicine and Infectious Diseases. In addition to founding the Stanford Travel Medicine Service, he developed and taught the first formal course on Travel Medicine at a United States medical school and currently lectures and consults internationally on emergency medicine, travel and tropical medicine topics. While at Stanford, Dr. Weiss was Medical Director for Stanford Life Flight as well as Emergency Medical Services for Stanford Hospital. Closer to home, he is the Medical Director for the Woodside Fire Department and is leading efforts to build a local Medical Reserve Corp to better serve the community. From 1995 to 1997 Dr. Weiss was the Chief Medical Officer for San Francisco International Airport where he had his own primary care practice while also being responsible for all airport medical affairs including travel medicine, occupational health, and emergency medical services. From 1999 to 2001, he served as the Chief Medical Officer for MedicinePlanet, Inc., a high tech company dedicated to providing wireless health solutions to the mobile traveler. Dr. Weiss is currently on the Advisory Board of GlaxoSmithKline and Salix Pharmaceuticals helping with market strategies and vaccine development. In 2004 Dr. Weiss relinquished his full time academic Stanford position and founded The Village Doctor, a so-called “Direct Care” or “Concierge Medicine” practice in Woodside. Having three young children at home he crafted a practice model and culture where he would like to have his family be patients. In addition to providing excellent healthcare, the goal was to have patients say “Wow!” when they walked out of the office or hung up the phone. A fellow of both the American College of Emergency Medicine and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Dr. Weiss is also an active member of the International Society of Travel Medicine, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Society of Concierge Physicians. Dr. Weiss received a BS in Biological Sciences from Stanford, an MD from UCSF, completed his residency and chief residency in Emergency Medicine at UCLA, and trained at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where he received his Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

About Bio International

The BIO International Convention is hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.