Compelling New Technology Startups Selected, RESI X Innovation Challenge

18 Aug

By Dennis Ford, CEO of LSN; Creator of RESI Conference Series

dennis-websitAs RESI comes back to Boston for its 10th conference, we’re excited to announce the early stage life science companies that will be participating in the event’s RESI Innovation Challenge.

The 30 participating companies have been hand-selected by LSN’s scientific review committee based on the innovative nature of their core technology and how well-positioned each is to capitalize on their respective market opportunities. The selected companies, two thirds of which have received funding from various NIH institutes, cover all corners of the life science domain including therapeutics, medtech, diagnostics and digital health.


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Mitochondrial-Substrate-Invention-500t Novoron-500t PrimeVax-500t

Technology Platform


Medical Device

Digital Health

Hot Investor Mandate 1: Global Pharma Seeks Early Stage Therapeutic Platforms and Devices in Eye Diseases

18 Aug

A global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan with US offices specializes in ophthalmology and rheumatology medicines. The firm considers licensing later stage (Phase III and on) assets to enrich their pipeline, and support early stage biotech companies by co-investing with other venture firms where there is already a lead in place. The firm will initially invest $1-2 M, and up to $5 M throughout the life of the investment.

The firm is interested in research stage innovation in platform technologies, gene/cell therapies, device and drug delivery systems, bio markers, etc. Current areas of interests are: Retinal Disorders (Uveitis, Age-related macular degeneration, Diabetic macular edema), Glaucoma (Intraocular pressure reduction, Neuroprotection), and Corneal Disorders (Dry eye, Corneal epithelial defects). The firm’s European interests also includes orphan indications and drug delivery technologies.

The firm requires a lead venture firm to be in place before considering co-investment.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email

Hot Investor Mandate 2: Corporate VC Invests In Series A Rounds In Genomics

18 Aug

A newly established corporate venture fund established by an instrumentation company invests in a wide array of applications of genomics. The firm seeks to syndicate with other leading institutional and strategic investors in Series A rounds. Typical allocations range from $2-5 million initially and can be up to $15-20 million over the life span of the company. The firm expects to make 4-5 new investments over the next 12 months and considers opportunities globally with a focus on the Bay area.

The firm is interested in areas where its expertise and special relationship with its parent company can add value. The firm focuses on applications of genomics including sequencing, assay development, agriculture and environmental science, industrial biotech, digital health, public safety and personal wellness, proteomics and other ‘omics’ areas. The firm prefers pre-revenue companies that have achieved proof-of-concept.

The firm seeks to work with experienced management teams with sector expertise. The firm’s team members have decades of entrepreneurial experience in genomics and may request a board seat depending on the deal.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email

Hot Investor Mandate 3: China Med Device Company Seeks 510k Devices

18 Aug

One of the largest medical equipment companies in China is seeking partnership opportunities worldwide. The firm specializes in R&D, manufacturing and distribution of medical equipment. The firm is looking globally for collaboration, in-licensing, and M&A opportunities in medtech innovations that has a China angle. The firm typically seeks distribution rights in the Chinese market.

Within medtech, the firm is looking for technologies that can complement its existing product lines in respiratory system, circulatory system, endocrine system, home care, and hospital equipment. The firm has a special interest in disposable medical materials, digital devices, respiratory care equipment, and sleep monitoring technologies. The firm prefers class I and 510k devices that are within 1-2 years to FDA clearance.

The firm is seeking innovative technologies that can address unmet medical need in the Chinese market. Yuwell can utilize its manufacturing facilities to reduce production cost and leverage a marketing network and distribution channels of more than 150 service centers all over China.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email

Hot Investor Mandate 4: Venture Firm Seeks Therapeutic, Diagnostics and Med Device Deals in US and Europe

18 Aug

A venture capital firm with investment teams in Silicon Valley and Switzerland is currently investing out of its second fund, and looks to invest in early-stage life science companies crossing all sectors. The firm focuses on Seed, Series A and Series B investments. Investment is in the form of equity with the firm making roughly 3-5 new investments per year. The firm typically invests $500K – $5M per round (depending on the stage and needs of the company), and generally invests $10-$15M throughout the life of a company. The firm is very comfortable leading investment rounds, and focuses on companies in the US and Europe.

In the life sciences, the firm is looking for new investment opportunities in the therapeutics, diagnostics, tools and medical device sectors. The firm is opportunistic in terms of sub-sectors and indications. The firm is only interested in preclinical/Phase I, early-stage technology. The firm looks for companies with proprietary technologies that allow them to address unmet needs in a unique and compelling manner. The firm is not interested in healthcare IT, healthcare services or software companies.

The firm invests in privately-held companies with passionate founders and/or a strong management team. The firm looks to take a board seat post-investment.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email

RESI Boston Panel Announcement: Early Stage Therapeutics Investors

11 Aug

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

Boston is often called the center of the global biotechnology industry, and it’s therefore no surprise that investors are flocking to RESI Boston to meet with early stage drug development entrepreneurs. LSN has gathered a panel of 5 top investors in therapeutics to share their tips and insights on the assessment of novel therapeutic technologies.

These five panelists will be sharing their expertise with RESI’s audience:

The panel will cover the challenges of raising capital for early stage drug development.  It’s a high-risk, high-reward investment sector, and these five investors have a wealth of experience in searching for the strongest early stage opportunities.  Representing diverse groups, from foundations to VC to pharma, these investors will explain how you can position your company to work with them.  If you’re interested in catching this panel live, you can sign up for RESI Boston now.


Elevating an Ecosystem – Incubators, Accelerators, and New Models Panel at RESI on MaRS

11 Aug

By Caitlin Kramer, Research Analyst, LSN


Incubators, accelerators, and other organizations are increasingly emerging as conduits for early stage life science companies to plug in to pre-existing networks, infrastructure, and capital.  Entrepreneurs may find themselves faced with choosing whether to participate in such programs, and weigh and evaluate the benefits a given program may offer in helping them achieve their goals. At RESI on MaRS, five panelists from different groups in this sector discussed the topic from their own unique positions, each presenting the specialties and area of focus of their organization.

Moderated by Rebecca Yu, Head of JLABS @ Toronto, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JLABS), panelists include

Each model has a unique value proposition which lies in its approach to network-building

Across the board, incubators, accelerators, and other models act as hubs for connecting startups to a wide range of entities; but which entities? Christopher Kim (KSL) shared how he brings in experienced Entrepreneurs in Residence to work with management teams on their project, as well as interfacing with potential customers through his contacts in Big Pharma. Linda Maxwell elaborated on the outbound offering of Biomedical Zone, where the “focus is getting clinicians involved with the technology, to not just look at the clinical outcomes, but the business case validation.” BioMedical Zone helps companies execute pilot programs to deploy products in their partner hospitals such as St. Michael’s, where traction is gained with the people who will ultimately champion the products. Autodesk’s approach, described by Gordon Kurtenbach, is “positioning ourselves in a community, opening up our doors, and establishing a social relationship to find out what is interesting to all of us.” Dianne Carmichael said that MaRS Discovery District adds value through providing expertise and preparation to companies, as well as exposure to investors and partners – so that when entrepreneurs finally pitch to a good fit investor, they are prepared and polished. “Gone are the days when fundraising CEO’s are thrown in front of organizations that have no intention of partnering or investing in them”, she said.

Elevating the early stage ecosystem

“With incubators and accelerators, there’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 7500 of them in North America”, said Carmichael.  She described how with this, there are many resources to “help companies that are starting…but I would argue that many of them don’t last.” At MaRS, a major focus is elevating the reputation of the entire early stage model ecosystem by carrying out due diligence on potential portfolio companies, and ensuring that the technology and management teams are well developed and prepared for talks with investors. Maxwell, herself an advisor to MaRS, described “working towards a new investment model, where investors are other hospitals, where we develop technology or pilot technology that people are mutually interested in.” This would result in “broadening the landscape for piloting and demonstrating clinical and business case validation.”

International collaboration is important at the earliest stages

For many companies, the “next stage” of success lies on penetrating international markets – particularly the US and Asian markets. Bringing in international investors is an excellent way to gain early exposure to global markets, competitors, and networks. For this reason, international collaboration is a key theme for firms like KSL and innovation hubs like MaRS. The relationship between people and hubs in the US and Canada are emphasized by Carmichael and Maxwell. “It’s easier to start a company in Canada than it is virtually anywhere else in the developed nations, but we have a real problem with scaling,” said Carmichael. Maxwell went on, “until we develop our own infrastructure for really adequate scaling of companies, early stage companies are going to go to the US” for that purpose.

Final Remarks

The early stage ecosystem is ripe with resources for entrepreneurs. There are a variety of models, some more hands-on than others. These will be the models that perform diligence, and bring in/coordinate with outside expertise and investors with a customized approach for their portfolio companies. Other models are more “open door”. Companies would not be expected to achieve milestones or need to wait for diligence, but should not expect the same level of guidance and support network that more rigid programs offer. Entrepreneurs should evaluate whether there is alignment between their goals and the specific “value proposition” of a given model.


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