Kevin Lustig

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Kevin Lustig
Kevin Lustig
Born (1963-08-23) August 23, 1963 (age 56)
ResidenceSolana Beach, California
Alma materUniversity of California, San Francisco
University of Missouri
Cornell University
Known forDrug discovery, HTS, Founder and CEO of
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard Medical School
ThesisFunctional Analyses of Vertebrate Signaling Pathways
Doctoral advisorMarc Kirschner

Kevin Donald Lustig (born 23 August 1963) is an American scientist and entrepreneur and founder of three life science companies: the pharmaceutical company Kalypsys in 2001; the online research marketplace (formerly Assay Depot) in 2007; and the non-profit lab incubator Bio, Tech and Beyond in 2013.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]


Lustig received an A.B. degree, magna cum laude, from the Section of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University in 1985. He received an M.S. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri in 1991 and a PhD degree from Marc Kirschner’s laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco in 1997.[8] Lustig carried out postdoctoral research in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School in 1997.

Scientific contributions[edit]

Lustig has published 25 original research articles and 4 book chapters and is an inventor of 8 patents.[9][10]

In 1993, Lustig and Andrew Shiau cloned the first member of a novel class of Purinergic receptors activated by extracellular ATP, a gene family that includes important drug targets.[11]

In 1993, Lustig and Bruce Conklin invented the first of a series of G-protein chimeras that are still widely used by the pharmaceutical and biotech industry for drug screening.[12][13][14]

In 1996, Lustig and Marc Kirschner invented a paracrine signaling assay and used it to identify Xnr1, which is part of a cell signaling pathway generating left-right asymmetry.[15][16]

In 1997, Lustig and Randy King invented an in vitro expression cloning technology used to isolate substrates of kinases and proteases.[17][18][19][20]

In 1997, Lustig invented a functional genomics approach to gene discovery and used it to identify a new member of the T-box family of transcription factors (Xombi aka VegT).[21]

In 1999 and 2000, Lustig and colleagues showed that bile acids are physiological ligands for the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), invented synthetic liver X receptor (LXR) agonists, and demonstrated that both FXR and LXR ligands regulate cholesterol transport.[22][23][24][25]

Entrepreneurial career[edit]

Lustig served as a research director at the biotechnology company Tularik, Inc. from 1997 to 2001, before it being acquired by Amgen in 2004.[26][27][28] Tularik went public in December 1999 and is credited with helping to start the biotechnology stock bubble of 2000.[29][30]

Lustig, Randy King, Pratik Shah and Peter Schultz founded the pharmaceutical company Kalypsys, Inc. in 2001.[2] The company was a pioneer in using high throughput screening (HTS) for phenotypic drug screens.[31] The company raised over $170M in venture capital funding.[32] The HTS part of the business was sold to Panasonic in 2006.[33]

In 2007, Lustig, Chris Petersen, and Andrew Martin founded the research marketplace Assay Depot (later[3][4][5] The company launched its first public marketplace in September 2008. By June 2016, it also operated private research marketplaces for 10 pharmaceutical companies and the US National Institutes of Health.[34][35]

Lustig and Joseph Jackson founded Bio, Tech and Beyond (BTNB), a non-profit life science incubator in Carlsbad, California in 2013; BTNB is a fully equipped shared research facility that makes it possible for one or a few scientists to start a life science company without significant funding.[36][37]


In 2013, Lustig was named “San Diego’s Most Admired CEO” by the San Diego Business Journal.[38] That same year he was also one of five national finalists for Entrepreneur magazine's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award.[39] Lustig was twice recognized as one of the life science industry's “100 Most Inspiring People” by PharmaVoice magazine in 2013 and 2014.[40][41]

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Wagner, David (7 December 2015). "Study: Shelved San Diego Drug Could Fight Deadly Brain Disease". KPBS. KPBS. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Kalypsys Raises $43 Million in Series A Financing". Evaluate. Evalute. 2 April 2002. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b Bigelow, Bruce V. (17 December 2009). "Assay Depot Founders Morphed Their Biotech Startup Into e-Commerce Provider of Drug Discovery Services". Xconomy. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  4. ^ a b Akst, Jeff (1 February 2010). "The Matchmaking Market". The Scientist. The Scientist. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b Taylor, Phil (16 September 2008). "Assay Depot: 'Ebay' of Drug Discovery Services Debuts".
  6. ^ Burke, Megan; St. John, Alison (11 July 2013). "Biotech Incubator Opens In North County". KPBS. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  7. ^ Bigelow, Bruce V. (28 October 2015). "Early Biotech Startups Take Stage at Carlsbad Bio Incubator". Xconomy. Xconomy. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Functional Analyses of Vertebrate Signaling Pathways". UCSF Library. UCSF Library.
  9. ^ "Search Results". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  10. ^ "Search Results". Google Patents. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  11. ^ Erb, L; Lustig, KD; Sullivan, DM; Turner, JT; Weisman, GA (15 November 1993). "Functional Expression and Photoaffinity Labeling of a Cloned P2U Purinergic Receptor". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 90 (22): 10449–53. doi:10.1073/pnas.90.22.10449. PMC 47794. PMID 8248130.
  12. ^ Conklin, BR; Farfel, Z; Lustig, KD; Julius, D; Bourne, HR (20 May 1993). "Substitution of Three Amino Acids Switches Receptor Specificity of Gq Alpha to that of Gi Alpha". Nature. 363 (6426): 274–6. doi:10.1038/363274a0. PMID 8387644.
  13. ^ "G Protein Chimera User Manual". OpenWetWare. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  14. ^ "LiveWare". Molecular Devices. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  15. ^ Lustig, KD; Kroll, K; Sun, E; Ramos, R; Elmendorf, H; Kirschner, M (October 1996). "A Xenopus Nodal-Related Gene That Acts in Synergy with Noggin to Induce Complete Secondary Axis and Notochord Formation". Development. 122 (10): 3275–82. PMID 8898239.
  16. ^ "U.S. Patent Number 5,585,087" (PDF). Google Patents. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  17. ^ King, RW; Lustig, KD; Stukenberg, PT; McGarry, TJ; Kirschner, MW (15 August 1997). "Expression Cloning in the Test Tube". Science. 277 (5328): 973–4. doi:10.1126/science.277.5328.973. PMID 9281074.
  18. ^ Lustig, KD; Stukenberg, PT; McGarry, TJ; King, RW; Cryns, VL; Mead, PE; Zon, LI; Yuan, J; Kirschner, MW (1997). "Small Pool Expression Screening: Identification of Genes Involved in Cell Cycle Control, Apoptosis, and Early Development". Methods in Enzymology. 283: 83–99. doi:10.1016/S0076-6879(97)83009-1. ISBN 9780121821845. PMID 9251013.
  19. ^ Stukenberg, PT; Lustig, KD; McGarry, TJ; King, RW; Yuang, J; Kirschner, MW (1 May 1997). "Systematic Identification of Mitotic Phosphoproteins". Current Biology. 7 (5): 338–48. doi:10.1016/s0960-9822(06)00157-6. PMID 9115395.
  20. ^ Mead, PE; Zhou, Y; Lustig, KD; Huber, TL; Kirschner, MW; Zon, LI (15 September 1998). "Cloning of Mix-Related Homeodomain Proteins Using Fast Retrieval of Gel Shift Activities, (FROGS), a Technique for the Isolation of DNA-Binding Proteins". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 95 (19): 11251–6. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.19.11251. PMC 21628. PMID 9736722.
  21. ^ Lustig, KD; Kroll, KL; Sun, EE; Kirschner, MW (December 1996). "Expression Cloning of a Xenopus T-Related Gene (Xombi) Involved in Mesodermal Patterning and Blastopore Lip Formation". Development. 122 (12): 4001–12. PMID 9012520.
  22. ^ Makishima, M; Okamoto, AY; Repa, JJ; Tu, H; Learned, RM; Luk, A; Hull, MV; Lustig, KD; Mangelsdorf, DJ; Shan, B (21 May 1999). "Identification of a Nuclear Receptor for Bile Acids". Science. 284 (5418): 1362–5. doi:10.1126/science.284.5418.1362. PMID 10334992.
  23. ^ Schultz, JR; Tu, H; Luk, A; Repa, JJ; Medina, JC; Schwendner, L; Wang, S; Thoolen, M; Manglesdorf, DJ; Lustig, KD; Shan, B (15 November 2000). "Role of LXRs in Control of Lipogenesis". Genes & Development. 14 (22): 2831–8. doi:10.1101/gad.850400. PMC 317060. PMID 11090131.
  24. ^ "U.S. Patent Number 6,555,326" (PDF). Google Patents. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  25. ^ "U.S. Patent Number 6,316,503" (PDF). Google Patents. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  26. ^ Gellene, Denise (30 March 2004). "Amgen to Buy Rival Tularik". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  27. ^ Wilson, Heather (13 August 2004). "Amgen Completes Tularik Acquisition". MarketWatch. CBS MarketWatch. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  28. ^ " About Us". Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  29. ^ Hall, Carl T. (17 October 1996). "A Big Bet on Biotech: Tularik Turns to Private Hands for $60 million". SF Gate. Hearst Communications. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  30. ^ Slud, Martha (22 February 2000). "Boom Time for Biotech". CNN Money. Time Warner. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  31. ^ Sam, Michael; et al. (October 2008). "A Robotic Platform for Quantitative High-Throughput Screening". Assay Drug Development Technology. 6 (5): 637–57. doi:10.1089/adt.2008.150. PMC 2651822. PMID 19035846.
  32. ^ "Kalypsys Raises $100 Million in Series C Financing". San Diego Source. San Diego Source. 29 November 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  33. ^ Bouley, Jeffrey (October 2006). "Kalypsys, Panasonic to Automate New Areas of Drug Discovery". DDNews. DDNews. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  34. ^ "Assay Depot, Inc. Creates Medical Research Exchange With the National Cancer Institute". BioSpace. BioSpace. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  35. ^
  36. ^ Burke, Megan; St John, Alison (11 July 2013). "Biotech Incubator Opens In North County". KPBS. KPBS. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  37. ^ Bigelow, Bruce V. (28 October 2015). "Early Biotech Startups Take Stage at Carlsbad Bio Incubator". Xconomy. Xconomy. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  38. ^ "Most Admired CEO 2013" (PDF). San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  39. ^ Davis, Kathleen (7 August 2013). "Who Will Win Our Emerging Entrepreneur of 2013 Contest? Help Decide". Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur magazine. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  40. ^ Grom, Teran (July–August 2012). "PharmaVOICE 100: Who's on the List by Section". PharmaVOICE. PharmaVOICE. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  41. ^ "The 100 Most Inspiring People". PharmaVOICE. PharmaVOICE. July–August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2016.