Archive | May, 2016

Emerging Opportunities in Medical Robotics

26 May

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

Shaoyu 10*10

Medical robotics technology is changing the paradigm of surgery, prosthetics, rehabilitation, and many other medical disciplines. Entrepreneurs and investors are eyeing on the game-changing potential in both physicians’ practice and patients’ homes.

One example is the development of bionic limbs and exoskeletons. Such technology can be applied in various fields including amputees, persons with disability, and emergency response. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has recently launched new initiative to develop prosthetic limbs that feel and function like natural limbs for amputees. One of its grant awardees is a Utah-based company with an implantable wireless device that aims to increase reliability of prosthetic limbs and create a more natural movement.

Another highly anticipated area is bionic eyes and artificial organs. The world’s first bionic eye received FDA approval in 2013. Thanks to advanced microelectronics and material science, the next generation of the bionic eye, artificial urinary sphincter, and other life-supporting implantable devices are underway and are expected hit the market in the foreseeable future.

The investment community has also shown strong appetite for medical robotic innovations. A search on the LSN Investor Platform for investors interested in ‘Active Implantable Devices,’ ‘Electro Mechanical Medical Devices,’ and ‘Technical Aids for Disabled Persons’ yielded 625 results. We see interest from throughout the investor spectrum; the majority are VC/PE firms, and we also see interest from angel groups, family offices, and corporate VC funds (Figure 1).

Many of the 625 investors are opportunistic, meaning that they are spread across sectors from MedTech to diagnostic to biotech to healthcare IT. However, 79 investors we have spoken to specifically indicated their mandate to find only novel devices that address unmet needs, including VCs and large medical device companies (Figure 2).

A growing trend is that traditional IT investors are seeing medical robotics as an entry point to the healthcare field. For example, we recently spoke to a California-based evergreen fund backed by founders of a major telecommunications company. The fund manager told us that he is seeking data capturing, data analytics and instruments/robotics application in healthcare. With no expertise in drug development, his team avoids therapeutic projects. However, they are happy to take on $250K – $1M investment in early-stage companies in the medical robotics field.



Medical robotics have truly attracted global interests (Figure 3). The USA clearly leads the field with 385 investors. Canada, the UK, Germany, France, and Netherlands are also very active. Asia-Pacific countries, including China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea, are seeking medical robotics to help with their rapidly aging populations and rising rate of chronic diseases.

For example, in January this year a Beijing-based investor led a $17M round for a Massachusetts-based bionic prosthetic startup company. The company is developing lower-limb prosthesis that mimics normal ankle movement and offers powered propulsion for persons with disability. The capital is intended to form new strategic partnerships and expand into the China market.


Strategically, many China-based investors are eager to turn their traditional manufacturing powerhouse into high value-added healthcare innovations. A manager of new VC fund from Beijing said that his team is most interested in minimally invasive surgical instruments, artificial intelligence and robots, diagnostic tools, and mobile health innovations. His fund is backed by one of China’s largest TMT companies, and his mandate is to find solutions that can capture large healthcare market share and are compatible with the founder’s IT background.

Medical robotics entrepreneurs are entering an exciting time when a growing number of investors from various backgrounds are jumping in to the intersection of computer science, material science, and medicine. It is imperative for entrepreneurs to think strategically when building alliances globally that will propel their products to the next stage.

An LSN Summer Chapter Series

26 May

By Cole Bunn, Senior Research Analyst, LSN


Summer has arrived, even here in Boston.  To help your fundraising efforts keep on through the coming heatwaves without flagging, LSN will be running our summer reading series again.  Each week, we’ll share a chapter of The Life Science Executive’s Fundraising Manifesto by Dennis Ford, packed with advice and tips for positioning, branding and marketing your life science financing round.


The Life Science Executive’s Fundraising Manifesto helps scientists understand the fundamental skills needed to brand and market their companies. It discusses how to use a consistent message to achieve compelling results from a fundraising campaign and how to aggregate a list of potential global investors that are a fit for your company’s products and services. The book also explains how to efficiently and effectively reach out to potential investor targets, start a dialogue that fosters a relationship, and ultimately secure capital allocations.

The LSN Summer Reading series begins with “The Legal Landscape: A Basic Overview.” Contributed by Gerard P O’Connor, Esq, this first chapter provides a whistle-stop tour of all the legal issues a fundraising CEO needs to consider when raising capital.

Click here to download/print the PDF.

O’Connor introduces the regulatory bodies a fundraising CEO will encounter, defines accredited investors, and presents some of the alternative options to pursuing venture capital funds. The chapter also informs entrepreneurs regarding key concepts in dealmaking, including dilution, terms, and working with brokers.

We hope you find this exploration of the legal considerations involved in fundraising to be informative. Join us next week for Chapter 2 — “Crowdfunding and IPOs.”

Enjoyed the preview? Buy now from or Barnes & Noble

RESI on MaRS Double Panel Announcement – Early Stage Therapeutic Investors and Incubators & Accelerators Share Their Perspectives

26 May

By Christine A. Wu, Research Analyst, LSN


Early Stage Therapeutic Investors

It is well known that early stage therapeutic companies require a significant source of funding due to the long road of development. Despite therapeutic companies’ high-risk development timeline, many investors continue to remain focused on investing in biotechnology with a steadfast belief in the potential of the space.

For RESI on MaRS (June 23rd), LSN has assembled five highly experienced investors particularly interested in biotech therapeutics. Held in the heart of Canada’s healthcare innovation hub, MaRS Discovery District, the Early Stage Therapeutic Investors Panel will be moderated by Cynthia Lavoie, Partner of TVM Capital, and will be joined by:

The panel will serve as an educational opportunity for scientist entrepreneurs to better understand the trends in investment in therapeutics, the investor’s perspective when approaching a deal in a high-risk space, and the best approach to initiate dialogue with them.

This is a tremendous opportunity for biotech life science entrepreneurs to meet and develop relationships with potential investors.

Incubators & Accelerators

It’s a huge challenge to launch a healthcare startup, but an increasing number of incubators and accelerator programs are stepping up to support early stage entrepreneurs and provide services, facilities and capital to speed their paths to market.

Leaders from five of these organizations are gathering at RESI on MaRS to share their experience of working with very early stage companies, and to explore how a startup can work with an incubator or accelerator partner to get ahead on their development pathway.

The moderator, Rebecca Yu, Head of JLABS @ Toronto, will be joined by:

Register for RESI@MaRS now to meet these investors in person.


Hot Investor Mandate 1: Firm Raises New Impact Fund For Early Stage Oncology Drugs

26 May

A venture capital firm with offices in Boston, Massachusetts and San Francisco, California has raised a $470 million oncology impact fund through a joint venture. The firm typically makes investments ranging from $3 to $25 million depending on the target company’s stage of development and capital requirements. The firm will consider investment into companies located anywhere around the globe. The firm makes 3-4 new investments annually.

The firm is currently focused on companies developing therapeutics, in particular oncology and regenerative medicine, however they will also consider investments into companies developing platform technologies. While the firm considers investment from seed stage to PIPE (private investment in public equity) the firm’s ideal company has an asset that is pre-clinical or in early clinical trials.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 2: Medtech Corporation Seeks Seed & Series A Deals in Connected Devices and Telemedicine

26 May

An international corporation in the imaging sector has established 5 innovation investment offices worldwide.  The firm seeks to make Seed to Series A investments of less than $5 million for less than 20% equity in private companies. Collaborative R&D can also be considered. The firm is currently looking for opportunities around the world.

The innovation investment program seeks to strengthen the firm’s core imaging business, explore new areas of innovation, and identify key players in their focused ecosystems. Within healthcare, the firm focuses on telemedicine and connected device solutions for applications such as patient management and virtual clinics. The firm considers products that have completed prototypes or achieved proof of concept with a clear path to FDA clearance (for 510K devices).

The firm closely collaborate with a diverse range of entities, such as academic institutes, research institutes, partner companies, and startups. The firm would like to obtain distribution rights in Japan; however, this is not a requirement for collaboration.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 3: Family Office Invests In Data-Driven Healthcare and Robotics

26 May

A family office invests from an evergreen fund focused on seed to later-stage companies building infrastructure and value chains around big data, including but not limited to health and life science data. Typical investment sizes range from $250K – $1M for early-stage companies. Additional capital for follow-on investments is available for portfolio companies. Along with capital, the firm also provides access to their Asian network for later-stage companies needing market expansion (once all other aspects of the company’s business have been resolved). There is not a requirement for a board seat along with investments.  The fund is focused on U.S. companies (with a focus on Silicon Valley), but will consider companies globally.

The firm invests in companies that are creating solutions to close the data feedback loop, including capturing data, analytics and instruments/robotics. The firm is interested in medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare IT products, with addressable markets of at least $1B. In the diagnostics field, m-health devices and genomics are of particular interest. AME is open to all sub-sectors of health IT including consumer-facing hardware/software, data collection/management and data analytics. The firm will invest in medical devices and diagnostics that require FDA approval, with 510K regulatory pathway being the most common, although devices/services that require different regulatory pathways will also be considered. Companies developing hardware or robotics that automate scientific life science experiments are also of interest. The firm does not make any investments in therapeutics.

There are no formal requirements for management teams, but management teams with experience commercializing products are preferred.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 4: European Firm Raises New Fund For Early Stage Therapeutics and Devices

26 May

A venture capital firm based in Europe focused solely on the life sciences has recently closed a new fund and is actively looking for investments, usually in series A rounds. Typically, the firm allocates €8M-€10M over the life of the investment with about half of that amount up front, in the initial investment. The firm primarily invests in companies that are based in mainland Europe, but will also consider opportunities in North America.

The firm invests solely in biotech therapeutics and medical devices. For biotech, the firm invests in pre-clinical up unto phase II assets. For medical devices, the firm prefers companies with with initial clinical proof-of-concept up unto reaching regulatory approval, whether that be PMA or 510(k) approval. The firm is not interested in diagnostic technologies. The firm is agnostic in terms of subsectors and indications, including orphan indications, but is very interested in products that address clear unmet opportunities. Historically, the firm invested in biotech therapeutics that address inflammatory, oncology, respiratory, autoimmune, and cardiovascular disorders. Medical devices include a non-active implantable device for pulmonary embolism, as well as devices for renal and vascular diseases.

The firm requests a board seat in each portfolio company. The firm seeks a company with a strong and experienced management team or technical experts in the relevant technology.

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