Archive | November, 2013

Understanding your Therapeutic Asset’s Landscape

20 Nov

By Alejandro Zamorano, VP of Business Development, LSN

Most early stage biotech assets have the potential to target several disease areas. However, it is critical for entrepreneurs to maintain focus in a specific area – this helps to efficiently bring a product to market, and to show investors a firm commitment to a specific goal. But how do you choose which indication to pursue? Of course, there are advantages surrounding orphan drug regulation, hot disease areas, and other major factors. However, one area that many entrepreneurs do not investigate thoroughly is the early stage competitive landscape in their target indication area. This should, however, be a consideration in any entrepreneur’s mind.

This article seeks to offer a 30,000-foot view of the therapeutic landscape, based on a sample of over 14,000 therapeutic assets. As demonstrated by the graphic below, there is a dense concentration of therapeutic assets in a select few disease areas. In fact, the top 3 main indications represent over 50% of all therapeutic assets currently being developed. This high concentration means that differentiating your asset will potentially be more challenging.

Number of Therapeutic Assets by Disease Area

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 12.51.39 PM (2)Click to enlarge

Competition will surface not only in the form of showing clinical significance, but also in the fundraising process. However, on a positive note, the clinical path for development should be much clearer, as companies have most likely traversed the same regulatory path your therapeutic is now embarking on. Learning from your competitors always pays dividends.

At the end of the day, you know your asset best, and how you fit into the competitive landscape. What is true for one company may not be true for another, but it is undeniable that every company looking to commercialize an asset needs to understand the therapeutic landscape and how to maneuver it most effectively.

LSN Announces RESI II

20 Nov

By Max Klietmann, Conference Co-Chair and VP of Marketing, LSN

The LSN team is very pleased to announce the second Redefining Early Stage Investments conference, to be held Monday, March 24, 2014 in Boston. This event is the next in LSN’s ongoing conference series focused on creating a dialogue between emerging life science companies and active early stage investors from ten categories around the world. LSN is committed to maintaining its mission of moving science forward by creating a forum for early stage innovation and capital to meet, and we are building on last September’s success. We’ve made some exciting changes for the March event – Here are some highlights:

Full Day Partnering – RESI will have partnering meetings available for the full duration of the day.

More Investor Panels – We’ve increased the number and variety of investor panels available to conference participants, based on cutting-edge content derived from our constant research of the industry.

Free Workshops – RESI will host a series of in-depth workshops in the areas of outbound fundraising, valuation, and the legal landscape.

Disruptive Technology Horizon – RESI will host a half-day session on the emerging disruptive technologies that have the potential to redefine the industry in the future.

New Company Presentation Format – RESI is offering innovative life science companies the opportunity to showcase their technologies to investors via poster displays throughout the (expanded) exhibit hall, giving them full-day exposure to investors and other conference participants.

If you haven’t attended RESI yet, here is a quick overview of attendance distribution from last year:

  • Over 300 attendees last year (targeted 200), estimating 500 this year
  • Over 115 early stage investors from around the world
  • 43% International / 57% Domestic
  • Attendee profile split per the chart below:

RESI Attendance BreakdownSpecial reduced earlybird registration rates for attending and exhibiting are available for a limited time only, so be sure to register now!

Special sponsorship opportunities are also available now.

We look forward to seeing you in March. Stay tuned for more RESI II conference updates.

A Word on Emerging Clusters

20 Nov

By Jack Fuller, Business Development, LSN

As a Boston-based company, Life Science Nation is by all accounts located in one of the greatest life science hubs in the world. An emerging company that can claim residence in Kendall Square somehow finds a certain level of implied acumen simply by virtue of being there. Investors also tend to gravitate toward the east and west coast “superclusters” when setting up offices. So how do companies outside of these geographic areas find and engage potential investors, given this apparent disadvantage?

Emerging Bioclusters such as St. Louis, Chicago, Colorado, and Florida – to name a few – have been growing through a combination of university, government, and private initiatives. Each cluster brings a unique dynamic of infrastructure and resources that have allowed the formation of innovative companies. I have spoken with several individuals at regional investment organizations who suggest that these are vibrant, growing communities of first class entrepreneurs and scientists.

As important as a regional network may be, an executive in an emerging cluster must maintain a global perspective. Any person looking to raise capital in today’s life science industry needs to think and act globally. Local investors and clusters are excellent at taking the first step, and have great experience in new company formation. Typically, good science and a solid management team are able to seed a company. However, in an emerging cluster, the funding gap between seed and a substantial series A tends to be larger than on the coasts.

Companies in emerging clusters have a few interesting value propositions they can distinctly take advantage of. First, many clusters are established around high-quality research institutions that provide a steady supply of qualified talent and innovation. Similarly, other clusters are home to major players in non-traditional “biotech” spaces such as AgBio and healthcare IT that can be taken advantage of when establishing local infrastructure and expertise.

One of the most important factors to an investor is the return per dollar invested.  There is a significant reduction in the cost of running a biotech company outside of Boston or the Bay area. When done correctly, a company can stretch $3-4M in the Midwest, to the equivalent of $6-7M on the coast. This decrease in operating costs means bigger returns for the investor. Investment in emerging clusters has been underfocused, and a savvy entrepreneur needs to leverage the regional momentum and resources available to become even more attractive than a similar company based in a major cluster.

When targeting global investors, the capital efficiency and strength of the management team become key factors in attracting significant interest. The question many investors will ask is: is this team going to be able to execute? The history of success stories, while present in emerging clusters, is still an area of concern to an investor.

All life science companies face the same challenges when raising capital. However, companies in an emerging cluster now have an opportunity to take the leap to the global stage. Take the question of execution out of the picture, and highlight the significant upside of investing in a company based in your region.

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