Tour: A contingent of German business leaders came to Santa Monica recently to learn from a pair of local companies. Courtesy photos

Santa Monica-based companies Quantgene and GoodRx have put the city on the map as a hub of innovation in the field of biotechnology. Last week, a delegation of German scientists, healthcare executives and business and political leaders visited the company’s headquarters to learn about their work detecting and preventing diseases, efforts to extend human lifespan and make healthcare more accessible and affordable. 

Quantgene is considered a world leader in the use of AI, cybersecurity, cloud systems, genomics, health data and medical technology and GoodRx is paving the way in the use of technology to make the pricing behind prescription medicines and healthcare more transparent. The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce helped organize the visits as part of their Santa Monica Global Program, which connects local companies working on AI and other technology with international executives.

“There is a real opportunity, now more than ever, to engage internationally, and the Chamber’s Santa Monica Global program does just that,” said Judy Kruger, president and CEO of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce. “Last week, the program matched Santa Monica businesses with German-based companies for discussions around business growth in AI, health tech, autonomous mobility, and data research. We know this will be a highly successful program for many internationally-focused companies.”

The group came from the southwest German state of Baden-Württemberg and included Christian Herzog, the CEO of Baden-Württemberg International, an organization focused on economic and scientific advancement in the region. 

“I am very pleased that Quantgene was a stop on our journey. The company is a pioneer in molecular diagnostics and is taking a very innovative approach by combining deep genomic sequencing and AI,” he said. “Innovations also characterize the medical technology industry in Baden-Württemberg, which is one of Europe’s leading healthcare hubs.”

Other members of the delegation included Minister-President of the State of Baden-Wurttemberg, Winfried Kretschmann and State Secretary at the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts, Petra Olschowski.

Quantgene CEO Johannes Bhakdi and Medical Director Jonathan Richina met with members of the delegation to discuss healthcare technology developments in Santa Monica, Los Angeles and the US to identify areas of common interest and potential for collaboration. Quantgene, which was founded at UC Berkeley in 2015, before relocating to Santa Monica, also has offices in Portland and Berlin and Bhakdi received a Masters degree from the German Tubingen University in Economics and Psychology. 

“Quantgene already has strong ties to the German scientific community through our Berlin-based R&D branch,” he said. “We are leading the world in precision genomics, cloud and AI to protect human life through the early detection of cancer, COVID-19 and other deadly diseases. We are excited to have met Minister-President Kretschmann and State Secretary Olschowski and welcome them to Santa Monica to share Quantgene’s technology insights.”

GoodRx Director Andrew Barrett-Weiss, who also met with the delegation, said he hopes to continue learning from and working with international partners like the German delegation in the future. 

“GoodRx developed from our founders’ interest in making healthcare access and affordability easier for all Americans, so I enjoyed hearing more about the important role the German government plays in leveling the playing field for citizens of their country,” he said. “I think this will be the beginning of a long mutually beneficial relationship and we’re so grateful to the Chamber of Commerce for inviting us to participate in this exciting exchange.”  

grace@smdp.com