SAN DIEGO (DECEMBER 17, 2015) – CONNECT, a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors, announced today that it has chosen co-founders of Althea Technologies, Magda Marquet, Ph.D., and François Ferré, Ph.D., for its highest honor – induction into the CONNECT Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Marquet is being recognized as the first-ever female recipient of the award, and the couple, business partners who will also celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in 2016, are being honored for their extensive contributions within San Diego’s research, healthcare, and entrepreneur communities.
“Our business is centered around the people and organizations that truly impact the city of San Diego, and without the contributions of Magda and François the local biotech community would not be what it is today,” said Greg McKee, CEO of CONNECT. “Inducting these two outstanding individuals into the esteemed CONNECT Entrepreneur Hall of Fame gives us great joy—it is hard to find more deserving innovators for this award. We are thrilled to have Magda as our first female inductee to the CONNECT Entrepreneur Hall of Fame as she truly represents the best qualities of an entrepreneur – creativity, tenacity, and her unwavering commitment to making the world a better place.”
Dr. Marquet, the co-founder and co-chair of Althea (a member of the Ajinomoto Group), a leading provider of contract services to the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, has over 30 years of experience in the biotechnology field in the United States and Europe. She is also a co-founder of AltheaDX, a precision medicine company. Notably, during her tenure as the former executive director of Pharmaceutical Development at Vical Incorporated, she patented several novel methods for the production of clinical grade DNA for use in gene therapy and DNA vaccines. Marquet also serves on the boards of Sente, Independa and Portable Genomics. A highly regarded scientist and business person, Dr. Marquet is also very involved in service and philanthropy. She serves on the Boards of BIOCOM (past Chairman 2013-2014), EDC, The Kyoto Symposium Organization and she is the incoming Chairman of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center Board. She has received numerous awards throughout her career including the Ernst & Young’s Regional Entrepreneur of the Year award, the UCSD Athena Pinnacle and Chairman awards, the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business award, and the 2015 San Diego Business Journal’s Exemplary Service Award.
Dr. François Ferré is co-founder and Director of Althea (a member of the Ajinomoto Group) and he is also the co-chairman and co-founder of AltheaDx, a privately-held company focusing on personalized medicine and pharmacogenomics. He serves on the board of a number of private companies including Biomatrica and Portable Genomics. He is co-Chairman of the Advisory Board of MD Revolution. He serves as a Director of the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) and of the Chopra Foundation (Executive Committee). Dr. Ferré is a leader in gene quantification and biomarker development and has published several authoritative reviews on these topics, including the co-edition of a bestseller book on PCR with Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Kary Mullis. Dr. Ferré was the winner of the 2005 Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Life Sciences category.
With a passion for entrepreneurship, Marquet and Ferre are also the Founders of ALMA Life Sciences, LLC, an early stage investment firm focusing on the creation and growth of innovative health care companies in San Diego. ALMA’s portfolio includes over 20 life sciences companies and its main focus is prevention with numerous investments in diagnostics and e-health.
“I am deeply honored to be entering the CONNECT Hall of Fame as the first woman entrepreneur, joining such a prestigious circle of San Diego great innovators and icons,” said Dr. Magda Marquet. “We would like to dedicate this incredible award to the San Diego community and to everyone who has helped us in our entrepreneurial journey and specifically to all the employees, investors, customers and friends of Althea as well as to our two sons for always being here for us.”
“Being selected as a Hall of Fame winner is incredible, extremely humbling and flat out extraordinary. I am so honored. Starting a company from scratch with Magda and growing it has been an incredible adventure,” said Dr. François Ferré. “It would be unimaginable to have done this in a place other than San Diego and we are so grateful to the San Diego community for allowing us to achieve our entrepreneurial dreams.”
Drs. Marquet and Ferré are the fourteenth and fifteenth inductees into the CONNECT Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Past inductees include Andrew Viterbi, Irwin Jacobs, Walter Zable, Ivor Royston, William Rastetter, J. Robert Beyster, Neal Blue, Linden Blue, Peter Preuss, Gene Ray, Howard “Ted” Greene, Ron Taylor and Peter Farrell.
An award dinner honoring Drs. Marquet and Ferré will be held on April 14, 2016 at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel. In addition to recognizing these two outstanding individuals, CONNECT will also be honoring esteemed members of the community for their contributions in both the life science and technology sectors via the Duane Roth Distinguished Contribution Awards. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.connect.org/events/connect-entrepreneur-hall-fame.
For more information on CONNECT, please visit www.connect.org.
CONNECT is a premier innovation company accelerator in San Diego that creates and scales great companies in the technology and life sciences sectors. By creating an environment in which entrepreneurs and C-suite executives have access to the people, capital, and technology resources they need for success, CONNECT has assisted in the formation and development of more than 3,000 companies since 1985. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful organizations linking entrepreneurs and C-suite executives with the resources they need for the commercialization of innovative products and services; our program has been modeled in more than 50 regions around the world.