Archive | December, 2015

Licensing Deals in Year 2015: Early Stage Endocrine Assets Scored Big

31 Dec

By Shaoyu Chang, MD, MPH,  Senior Research Manager, LSN

Shaoyu 10*10

Year 2015 has been buzzing with biopharma licensing deals. Compared to previous years, large pharmaceutical companies have become more aggressive in pursuing early stage assets to replenish their pipelines. Against the backdrop of headline-grabbing mega deals, we have dug into the LSN Licensing Deals Platform to examine the key data points that can tell us about the overall deal-making activity for year 2015.  (LSN’s data covers licensing deals, but not M&A activity).

Growing interest in preclinical and Phase I assets

While previously big pharma companies were turning to de-risked projects, this year we have seen a return of interest in early stage assets. Preclinical and phase I projects accounted for over half of the licensing deals. This optimism is partially fueled by scientific advancements such as gene and cell therapies. It is important for startup entrepreneurs to observe the trend and identify strategic partners even at a very early stage.

Cancer dominated licensing deals, while diabetes gained ground

Continuing the trend in 2014, cancer continues to take center stage in licensing deals, accounting for two out of five deals in 2015. CAR-T therapies and checkpoint blocking antibodies were some of the most highly sought themes. However it is noteworthy that diabetes (an endocrine disease) has attracted significant interest this year, with a number of mega deals with major multinational giants.

Promising therapeutic breakthroughs attracted big pharma’ interest

The LSN Licensing Deals Platform also contains information about compound type and technology approach that allows the user to dive deeper into in each deal. Across a variety of therapies, a few areas clearly stood out: antibodies, immunotherapy, and gene therapy.

Antibody therapies have been developed to attack novel disease targets such as PD-1 and CD20. Researchers are testing bispecific antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates to achieve higher therapeutic efficacy and specificity in cancer and other diseases.

Cell therapy and immunotherapy have attracted significant interest in 2015, particularly the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. With encouraging clinical trial data announced at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting, we expect the trend to continue into 2016.

Recent breakthroughs in gene therapy such as CRISPR has gained traction in year 2015. In addition to cancer, pharmaceutical companies are eager to test these new tools in treating rare diseases such as cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and sickle cell disease.

Global playing field for big pharmas and entrepreneurs

One would not be surprised to find some of the most active big pharmaceutical companies through the licensing deals LSN tracked. Johnson & Johnson, Celgene, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, and Novartis are among the list of top dealmakers for 2015. Big pharmas are increasingly looking global, for example this year Johnson & Johnson struck deals in the US, Canada, Sweden, and Korea.

Data from the LSN Licensing Deal Platform demonstrated a growing number of emerging market players entering the game in search for partnerships. Hanmi Pharmaceutical is probably the most successful example when it comes to out-licensing. This year the South Korean company has struck deals with four multinational giants totaling more than US$4 billion.

Biotech entrepreneurs are now entering a playing field that is looking optimistic with ample capital and exciting breakthroughs. As we continue to track licensing activities, our best advice for entrepreneurs is to keep partnerships in mind at an early stage of your venture and execute an effective outreach campaign that covers across a broad spectrum of strategic partners.

Highlights of 2015: Next Phase’s Top 10 Articles

31 Dec

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

Nono Hu, Director of Marketing, LSN

We’ve covered many topics in life science fundraising over the last year, and here’s a roundup of the articles that won the most reader appeal. The list includes some retrospectives and look-aheads, some deep dives on working with a pharma company or with a philanthropic fund, and some tactical tips on how to meet an investor and build a productive relationship. We hope you’ll enjoy taking a second look at these 2015 highlights.

Year-End Roundup: Pharma Licensing Deals

By Lucy Parkinson, Senior Research Manager, LSN

In recent years, big pharmaceutical companies have filled their pipelines by turning to smaller partners to find innovative products, and 2014 has been no exception. This year has produced so much dealmaking news that you may have lost track of all the new partnerships. But we’ve dug into the LSN Licensing Deals Platform to examine the key data points from the year’s pharmaceutical licensing activity.


11 Tips for Creating a Successful Pitch Deck

By Shaoyu Chang, Research Analyst, LSN

Coming from a scientific background, I thought I knew well enough about using slides and making presentations, whether in laboratory journal clubs or at hundred-attendee conferences. However, as I start to help fellow scientists on their fundraising campaigns, it has become apparent to me that academia and business speak very different languages.


Formulating the Introductory Email to Potential Investors

By Michael Quigley, Research Manager, LSN

Having personally scheduled and held several hundred interviews with Life Science investors over the past year, I have developed and refined a formula for getting “in the door” with an introductory email. As anyone who has embarked on a fundraising campaign knows, initiating the dialogue is often the hardest part of the process. Few introductory emails ever get opened, and even fewer earn a reply at all. However, there are a few concepts and tactics that can increase your efficacy substantially when it comes to initiating a dialogue and locking in that first meeting. This article will share some insights from my personal experience that may be helpful in your email outreach.


CRO Trends in 2015

By Alejandro Zamorano, VP of Business Development, LSN

LSN maintains regular dialogue with a broad spectrum of contract research organizations (CROs) – from top-tier full service organizations, to small niche-specialized research companies; some are customers of the LSN Company Platform, and others are friends. Every year we talk to hundreds of business executives in the field. Based on our market insight, here are the top trends we see in 2015.


How to Write a Compelling Partnering Message

By Alejandro Zamorano, VP of Business Development, LSN

Life Science Nation attends many partnering conferences, in addition to hosting our own quarterly Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference series. After taking the time to study the most successful partnering requests and interviewing investors about what they look for in an introductory note, we have created a template email, which should increase your response rate when soliciting investment:


The Life Science Venture Philanthropy Landscape

By Michael Quigley, Director of Research, LSN

LSN researchers recently decided to take a deep dive into interviews we have held with venture philanthropy groups from around the world to see what the future likely has in store. After analyzing data gathered over the past three years from more than 150 investors, we uncovered a few notable trends.


Getting the Most from a 30-Minute Investor Meeting

By Michael Quigley, Director of Research, LSN

As a fundraising entrepreneur, you will likely find yourself engaging in initial face-to-face meetings with investors, whether at a conference, coffee shop, or in an office. Given the time constraints inherent in these kinds of meetings, it is crucial that you have a plan in place in order to get as much as possible out of them. What follows are suggestions for how best to manage one of these conversations.


How Do Investors Assess a Management Team?

By Lucy Parkinson, Senior Research Manager, LSN

LSN Research often hears from investors that when choosing a company to invest in, a sound management team is just as important a factor as the quality of that company’s technology. Developing an innovative biotech or medtech product is a lengthy process fraught with risks, and it takes a strong management team to successfully guide a scientific discovery through all the challenging steps. So what are the qualities of the ideal management team, and how will investors judge whether yours has what it takes? Investors have reported the following important attributes:


Family Offices: The New VCs

By Dennis Ford, CEO, Life Science Nation

There is not enough capital to fund all of the good ideas from life science companies, which is a major challenge for life science CEOs today. To identify the next not-so-obvious investors, fundraising executives should look to the capital-raising practices of start-ups in other industries. If they do, they will learn that the basic premises include thinking outside the box and being flexible and more creative.


Pitching to a Foundation? Be Prepared for These Issues

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

Earlier this year, we offered an in-depth exploration of foundations that provide funding to startup companies. Many foundations and patient groups are now interested in working with startup companies to fund projects that further their mission, and while many life science companies could benefit from approaching foundations for funding, there are certain criteria that foundations typically have to follow in order to bring their support for startup companies in line with their broader mission.


Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference: Biotech Family Office Panel

31 Dec

By Cole Bunn, Research Analyst, LSN


Family offices are an investor class that has recently garnered a lot of attention from life science entrepreneurs. Their wide variety of motivations and transaction types and generally speaking, more flexible term sheets, make these investors a great partner for biotech companies undertaking the daunting task of commercializing therapeutic products.

At RESI San Francisco, the Biotech Family Office Panel will provide insights into each represented firm’s current interests and outlook on the biotech sector, how they source and evaluate deals and their position in the investment ecosystem.

Moderated by Lisa Rhoads, Managing Director, Easton Capital, this panel will feature:

If you’re interested in listening to this panel live at RESI, you can register for RESI San Francisco now. RESI provides a great opportunity to expand your network in the life sciences and to get a better understanding of fundraising process, and January 12th will be our largest gathering yet.


Hot Life Science Investor Mandate 1: Sovereign Wealth Fund Searches For Clinical-Stage Life Science Opportunities

31 Dec

A Life Science focused private equity and venture capital firm affiliated with a sovereign wealth fund invests in companies at all stages, from early stage seeking venture capital to late stage companies seeking growth and expansion capital. Typically, the firm invests USD 5-15 million per opportunity. The firm can invest globally and is actively seeking new investment opportunities.

The firm seeks to invest in breakthrough healthcare biotech, medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare IT, and biorenewable and bioindustrial technologies. The firm is open to a wide range of technologies including novel techniques such as stem cells and genomics, and will consider investing in any area of medicine. The firm prefers to invest in technologies that have attained clinical validation.

The firm seeks a strong and experienced management team. The firm may take a board seat on a case by case basis.

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

Hot Life Science Investor Mandate 2: Public-Private VC Focuses On Neurodegeneration & Psychology Drugs

31 Dec

A venture capital firm founded in 2002 invests solely in life sciences companies and is currently investing from a US$35M private fund and a $50M government matching fund. Equity allocation size varies and can reach up to US$3M per deal. The firm is open to leading or co-investing. The firm focuses 70% on Asia and 30% on global deals and is currently seeking new opportunities.

Within life sciences, the firm is most interested in biotech therapeutics including biologics, small molecules, and drug formation. The firm considers all indications with a focus on neurodegeneration and psychology. The firm prefers assets ranging from preclinical to phase II. Historically the firm has invested in medical technology, agricultural biotech, and biotech R&D services, but will consider these sectors with less interest.

The firm is looking for experienced management teams with strong sector expertise. For domestic deals, the firm seeks an active role in its portfolio companies and would require a board seat on a case-by-case basis. For foreign deals, the firm prefers to syndicate with a strong lead that can work with investee companies closely.

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

Hot Life Science Investor Mandate 3: Hong Kong VC Seeks Minimally Invasive Devices, Diagnostics & Robotics

31 Dec

A boutique venture capital firm founded in 2015 in Hong Kong is currently investing from its $100M fund in early stage cross-border technology companies in TMT and MedTech. The firm generally participates in Series A rounds but would also consider seed and growth-stage funding. Typical equity investment size ranges from $1-5M. The firm is open to both leading and co-investing, and is actively seeking new opportunities from across the world with a focus on companies in China, U.S. and Europe. The firm helps portfolio companies get into massive and fast-growing markets of China and Asia, and assists Chinese companies to expand aboard. The firm expects to make 8 new investments in the next 6 months.

The firm is most interested in medical devices such as minimally invasive surgical instruments, artificial intelligence and robots, diagnostic tools; and mobile health innovations. The firm is seeking innovations that have completed prototype. The firm would also consider therapeutics for large disease markets with a special interest in immunotherapy and cell therapy.

The firm is in search of ambitious companies with strong, experienced management teams. The firm can work with incomplete teams and contribute expertise in essential services: branding, marketing, channel development, overseas expansion, human resources and finance. The firm may also request right of priority distribution rights or negotiation rights in China.

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

Hot Life Science Investor Mandate 4: PE Firm Seeks Seed, Spin-Out and Late Stage Life Science Opportunities

31 Dec

A private equity and advisory firm, based in Zürich, Switzerland, which has been founded in 1999. Along with providing private equity, the firm serves also as a corporate development and financial advisor to life science and technology companies through the firm’s VC and PE network. The firm has a primary focus on the Life Science sector and actively supports early stage companies in development. The firm has managed a 40M fund and is fundraising to close a larger fund in 2016. The firm focuses on companies based in Europe, though it would be open to US-based companies that have interest in establishing themselves in the European market and may have strong ties to Europe (i.e. representatives or office in Europe, European vendors, etc.).

The firm has a general interest in Life Sciences, especially concentrating on biotech therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices of all subsectors as well as digital healthcare opportunities. With regard to indications the firm is agnostic and has worked in the past in oncology, cardiovascular, anti-infective, autoimmune, CNS and in the field of vaccine technology. When investing, the firm prefers preclinical to early clinical stage companies that have a first proof-of-concept in-vitro or/and in-vivo. The company is focusing on seed round opportunities and spin-offs in which the firm could actively engage. It would be advantageous if the product and service offering is based on a proprietary platform technology. The firm will look at commercialized/late stage products or technology far down the development timeline especially with respect to its business development activities offering.

The firm prefers a management team with experience in the industry, though understands that at the seed stage, there will be gaps in the management team that the firm will help to fill with own resources or drawing on its extensive network in the industry. The firm will also look at assets spun out of institutions including universities and research institutions or the pharmaceutical industry, and will support the scientist entrepreneurs in business development by integrating with the company and delivering managerial support where necessary.

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