SoCalBio Announces 2021 Innovation Award Winners

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Southern California Biomedical Council (SoCalBio) — the trade association for bioscience and digital health professionals across Greater Los Angeles – today announced honorees for the 2021 Innovation Awards, which will be presented during an online gala on Friday, December 10th.

The Awards recognize and celebrate the contributions of Greater Los Angeles Region’s bioscience entrepreneurs, researchers, and educators. The 2021 honorees are:

  • Raymond W. Cohen, Founder & CEO, Axonics, Inc. (Irvine, CA)
    Winner: Lifetime Entrepreneurial Achievement Award
  • Yu-Chong Tai, PhD, Anna L. Rosen Professor of Electrical Engineering & Medical Engineering and Executive Officer for Medical Engineering at Caltech (Pasadena, CA)
    Winner: 2021 Outstanding Researcher Award
  • Chander Arora, Ph.D., Professor of Biotechnology, Los Angeles Mission College (Sylmar, CA)
    Winner: 2021 Outstanding Educator Award

"Resounding congratulations to this year’s honorees," said Robert Greenberg, MD, PhD, Chairman of SoCalBio and Executive Chairman of the Alfred E. Mann Foundation. "SoCalBio is grateful for their exceptional contributions that enrich the bioscience communities across Greater Los Angeles."

Lifetime Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

Raymond W. Cohen has devoted his career encompassing four decades to bringing lifesaving medtech innovations into the continuum of medical care. He has raised nearly $1.5 billion in capital to fund R&D at many of the companies he helmed. In total, Mr. Cohen has served as CEO or Chairman of the Board for more than a dozen companies, including many with successful exits.

Mr. Cohen’s latest endeavor is Irvine-based Axonics, Inc. (Nasdaq; AXNX) — the publicly traded developer of an FDA-approved implantable rechargeable sacral neuromodulation system for treating patients with overactive bladder. From a research project spun out of the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Biomedical Research in 2013, Mr. Cohen has built Axonics into the #1 fastest-growing tech company in North America (Deloitte Technology Fast 500, November 2021), with a market cap of $2.7 billion.

Outstanding Researcher Award

Yu-Chong Tai, PhD, has devoted his career at Caltech to advancing the fields of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and nano-electro-mechanical systems (NEMS). His research has led to more than 700 peer-reviewed publications in major scientific journals and nearly 200 issued and pending patents for his inventions in MEMS/NEMS devices, including micromotors, microphones, micro scanning mirrors, neural chips, micro relays, and micropower generators. He also attracted substantial funding to create Caltech’s Department of Medical Engineering, which is focused on translational medicine and micro/nanoscale medical devices.

In addition to conducting research and educating students, Dr. Tai has also co-founded several biomedical device companies focused on microfluidics, labs-on-a-chip, and biomedical implants.

Outstanding Educator Award

Chander Arora, PhD, has devoted her career to bioscience education and workforce development in the Greater Los Angeles Region. While teaching at Los Angeles Valley College and Los Angeles Mission College, she developed pioneering lab technician training programs and the region’s first industry-approved biomanufacturing technician credentialing exam to ensure job seekers meet the needs of biopharma employers.

With a student placement rate of 90-100%, she has helped place over 400 students in industrial jobs. She was recently awarded $509,000 from the National Science Foundation to prepare non-traditional students for careers. Dr. Arora continues to build bridges between Los Angeles region community colleges and bioscience firms via programs such as the Amgen Biotech Experience, which empowers teachers to bring biotechnology into the classroom.

"We are very pleased to recognize the accomplishments of our 2021 honorees who embody the spirit of innovation in their respective fields," said SoCalBio President & CEO Ahmed Enany. "Their life and career stories are inspirational and exemplify the best that our region offers in entrepreneurship, research, and education."  

SoCalBio’s Annual Innovation Awards Gala will be held online on Friday, December 10th, from 1:00 to 3:30 PM (Pacific Time). For more information, visit

SoCalBio thanks the following Innovation Awards Gala sponsors for their financial support that makes this event possible:

Leading Sponsors:

Supporting Sponsors:

About SoCalBio:
SoCalBio is a nonprofit, member-supported trade association that promotes bioscience research, development, manufacturing, job creation and overall economic growth in the Greater Los Angeles region. The Council’s programs help local firms gain access to capital, potential partners and business support services. The annual SoCalBio Conference has grown to become the region’s premier showcase for emerging life-science companies and technologies. SoCalBio also promotes technology transfer and workforce training, while informing policy makers and the public at-large about the benefits of the region’s life-science industry. More information about SoCalBio is available at

ExcelPR Group
Erik Deutsch, 323-851-2300 x112

SOURCE Southern California Biomedical Council