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Meet Carolyn Short of Capia IP

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carolyn Short.

Carolyn, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My husband, Jay, and I have four amazing kids between the two of us, ages 20 to 29, and one grandchild Zoe, who is 2.

I met Jay when I became the first outside sales rep for a local biotech company that sold research reagents and related equipment to bench scientists cloning genes (and manipulating DNA). I had studied biochemistry/cell biology at UCSD, and since I did not want to pursue a PhD (and more school), and my real estate sales background during college directed me into the “business” of science in biotechnology. I am a navy brat, and lived for a decade in Italy and Spain before returning to San Diego. My background is humble, and I am still grateful for the opportunity this company gave me to learn about sales, marketing, business development and licensing over the many years I worked there. Jay is a farm boy from Indiana, who’s Dad was a scientist, inventor, teacher/principal and farmer. Their family is very entrepreneurial. Jay started his first business when he was 12 years old; a hay bailing business that eventually helped fund his college education. He still owns the equipment from that business. After receiving his PhD in Biochemistry at Case Western, he started working as the first PhD at a local, small biotechnology company in San Diego, which grew to about a $150MM business before being acquired by a larger entity. We met there.

Today, Jay and I have worked together for several decades. He was a cofounder of another local company called Diversa, where I also worked (I was one of the first employees) leading Intellectual Property from inception until 2006. I became a patent agent while at the company. Diversa had the largest IPO in biotech history in 2000. The experience was broad in scope and depth, and I was lucky for the exposure.

Since departing Diversa, we have started several more companies together. One of them is BioAtla, where we currently spend much of our time.

BioAtla is trying to cure cancer. I think having the opportunity to try to help with this global challenge is a gift to both of us.

BioAtla’s technology platform, invented by Jay, yields antibody drugs that target tumor (and other) microenvironments in the body, while remaining inactive against normal cells. This reduces toxicity of drugs, and improves what is called the “therapeutic window” …. the space between safety, or toxicity, and cure, or efficacy. The goal is to make drugs that work better and are safer. I work there heading up IP and global strategy.

We started the company at our kitchen counter in 2006, initially using the service business aspect of the company to fund and build the technology. Today, we have executed deals with some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and our drugs are going into humans for testing in early 2018.

There is a cartoon I saw once about the life of an entrepreneur that shows several boxes of a character. In each of the first few boxes, the character is thinking “oh shit”. Then a box shows the character thinking “wahoo!”, followed by a repeat of the entire series of boxes. That cartoon resonates with me; the true life of an entrepreneur. A series of panicked moments punctuated by elation. Like your leaning back on that chair that’s about ready to fall, but doesn’t at the last minute. And having that experience for years.

The journey has been super challenging and super rewarding. Experiencing our kids and companies growing up and out has been amazing.

Jay and I also co-own other businesses: Capia IP is a holding company and consulting business that advises entities in healthcare and clean energy about intellectual property and business strategy; iPhenotype is a company democratizing biology, focused on wellness and prevention of disease; Inversagen is a company working on products to address diseases related to aging using next generation, safer synoptic therapies; and LusBio is a company opening carbon feedstock pathways for alternative high value products, such as protein and chemicals.

My other huge passion is flying. Recently, I got my pilot’s license (it was super hard!), and I’m now consumed with flying. Highly recommended!

Has it been a smooth road?
No, of course not. Smooth roads in life can be boring. If you are taking any risk, there will be struggles. I lost my dad when I was very young, and I feel like life is short; each day I want to try to burn out, not fade away. Every day in business, and almost every day in life there are challenges. And they are not easy. But challenges and struggles are opportunities to overcome something difficult and be a hero. In reality, the most difficult struggles I have faced were when the health of one of my family members was threatened. For example, my mom had cancer…. twice. And I’m so grateful she survived. I’ve suffered from depression before, and that was also scary. Business struggles generally relate to requiring enough capital to take any company to the next value infection. Sometimes, having all the expertise (and expert advice) in the world cannot remove all risk, and that risk can be a struggle.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Capia IP story. Tell us more about the business.
Our company is high value, small and fiercely committed to curing cancer. We have incredibly smart and talented employees who have been a team for many years, and we have been through a lot together. We are using a proprietary technology platform to discover, develop and commercialize as many cancer therapeutics as possible. We are pursuing dozens of cures. We are also well funded. We have executed and are pursuing partnerships with some of the largest companies in the healthcare industry. The technology platform and the company employees distinguish us.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 11011 Torreyana Road
    San Diego, CA 92121
  • Website:

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