Archive | March, 2017

Identifying Strategic Partners in Asia

30 Mar

By Shaoyu Chang, MD, MPH, Director of Research & Asia Business Development Liaison, LSN

Shaoyu 10*10

The Asia Pacific region represents a diverse healthcare marketplace, where each country comes with a unique set of challenges including regulatory approval, reimbursement, distribution channels, and healthcare practice. North American startups can benefit from working with strategic partners who could help them navigate the complex landscape. Corporations from Asia Pacific are also strongly motivated to seek collaborators from overseas.

In the biopharma field, Japanese big pharmaceutical companies have entered the global biopharma arena through M&A since 1980s. Now armed with strong R&D capability, they are looking to collaborate with biotech startups and commercialize their products globally. Chinese pharmaceutical firms are jumping into the fray in recent years, with an aim to modernize China’s pharma industry and obtain an entry portal to advanced economy markets.

Opportunities are abundant within HealthTech. Many investment groups from Asia are focusing on medical devices, diagnostics, and genomics that are faced with lower risks and shorter development time. In addition, traditional IT, manufacturing, and food industries in Asia are looking to break into healthcare. By working with them, entrepreneurs could also gain support in software development, engineering, prototyping, and manufacturing.

RESI Toronto provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet potential Asian partners face-to-face. Two exciting panels are organized on pharma and HealthTech, respectively:

Asia Pharma Partners

Asia HealthTech Partners

Big Data Is Driving Big Healthcare Investment Opportunities in Canada

30 Mar

By Sarah Mortimer, MaRS Discovery District

A growing revolution in healthcare is fueling innovation and increased government spending in the sector, while opening up new opportunities for investors.

Today, thanks largely to mobile devices, people are collecting more personal health information than ever before, including family medical histories, symptoms, biometric data, and food and drug intake. Experts have taken to calling this wealth of information “big data” or the “quantified self.”

This democratization of the healthcare sector—where both doctors and patients are involved in the healing process—is driving increased spending in the system, which, in turn, is fuelling new health innovations and greater interest in the sector from venture capitalists.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, health spending in Canada was expected to reach $228 billion—or $6,299 per Canadian—in 2016, signifying the government’s strong commitment to advancing this sector. And this is just the tip of the global iceberg. Between 2015 and 2020, the world’s major regions are expected to see healthcare spending increase from 2.4% to 7.5%, according to a recent healthcare report by Deloitte.

“Canada has always had a very strong ecosystem for driving innovation in health sciences, particularly in medical imaging, equipment and devices,” says Dan Mathers, investment director at the MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. “The vision here is big.”

Toronto in particular is perfectly poised to leverage the investment trend. The city’s infrastructure includes all the necessary pillars for a healthcare pipeline — from leading hospitals and medical centres to innovation hubs and research facilities. In fact, some of the world’s leading medical institutes call Toronto home, such as Mount Sinai Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, among many others. According to the Government of Canada, “over 50% of Canada’s life sciences companies are located in the Toronto region, and the Toronto biotech cluster is the largest in Canada.”

Much of Toronto’s healthcare epicentre is located in the city’s Discovery District, a 2.5-square-kilometre region in the heart of its downtown core. Not only does the Discovery District represent the greatest concentration of research centres, startup incubators and other business development services in all of Canada, but it’s also the world’s densest geographical area for research.

With such an active life sciences scene, it’s not surprising that Toronto continues to attract and retain a growing number of high-growth startups working in some of the hottest healthcare segments.

“Investors are beginning to take note of Toronto as an under-tapped market for cutting-edge biotech and life sciences startups,” says Ying Tam, acting managing director of health venture services at MaRS. “Events like next week’s RESI on MaRS conference and MaRS HealthKick will give international investors an opportunity to meet with founders and scout the region’s most promising emerging health technologies.”

“The recent increase in the size of investments in the Toronto market reflects the quality of science and innovation in fields such as regenerative medicine and neurosciences,” says Mary Haak-Frendscho, a venture partner at Versant Ventures and the CEO of Blueline Bioscience.

Venture capital and private equity firms from around the globe are also being drawn to Canada’s medical device and equipment sector, which ranks ninth in a global context, according to Global Affairs Canada. The same government report estimates the sector’s worth to be $6.8 billion, with additional exports totalling $1.9 billion.

“There’s a lot of activity here,” says Mathers, referring to successful medical device companies such as Perimeter Medical Imaging, Synaptive Medical, eSight and Intellijoint Surgical.

All in all, the boundaries between the possible and impossible are constantly being redefined in ground-breaking ways—especially in Ontario. In the words of Dan Mathers, Toronto’s healthcare scene presents the “ability to turn what was previously science fiction into real-life solutions.”

RESI Panel Announcement – Diagnostic Investors

30 Mar

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

Diagnostics is a challenging landscape for fundraising and commercialization; however, the sector attracts interest and backing from a wide variety of stakeholders. There are many unmet needs in the sector, from finding new disease biomarkers to improving monitoring of progressive diseases.

The range of diagnostic investors attending RESI on MaRS next Tuesday provide testament to this varied landscape, with interest in novel diagnostic technologies coming from major pharma and device companies, diagnostic service providers, venture investors, and government organizations. RESI will bring the diagnostics world together for a panel discussion, moderated by Bob Williams, Vice President, Business Development and Innovation – Bracco Diagnostics, and featuring:

These investors will introduce their own specific angle on the diagnostics sector, and will cover what they look for in an investment opportunity in this sector. Panelists will also provide advice on how to make a new diagnostic catch their attention as an investable product. If you’d like to hear the advice of these experts at RESI, there’s still time to sign up.

Hot Investor Mandate 1: Global Insurance Company Looks for Healthcare Opportunities in North America

30 Mar

A global insurance company based in Beijing, China has total assets under management of nearly US$800 billion. The firm’s investment arm has invested in several industries and is now looking for opportunities in healthcare. The firm is most interested in mature companies with stable cash flow, but it is also open to seed- and early-stage opportunities. The firm can lead or follow in a financing round, and the investment size can vary depending on the deal. The firm considers companies globally with a focus on North America.

The firm considers opportunistically across various sectors within healthcare, including therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and healthcare IT, with an increased interest in senior care, wellness, wearable devices, and big data analytics. The firm prefers revenue-generating, mature businesses, while early-stage companies with proof-of-concept would also be considered.

The firm is looking for experienced management teams with sector expertise.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 2: California PE Firm Partners on New Fund, Focuses on Growth-Stage Medtech

30 Mar

A private equity firm based in San Francisco, CA has partnered with an established healthcare investor to form a new fund of almost $200 million, focused on the healthcare sector. The firm typically makes equity investments between $5-30 M (USD), although the firm has made smaller and larger deals on a case-by-case basis. In addition, the firm also participates in buyouts and restructuring deals. The firm seeks to invest about $45 M per year, and looks for companies globally with a focus in North America.

The firm looks at all sectors within the life science space. The firm has invested the most in medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare IT/services, and biopharma/therapeutics, in descending order. With all sectors, the firm’s focus lies in products already on the market although they will look at clinical products that have novel technologies and clear regulatory pathways. The firm will participate in financing rounds no earlier than Series B or C rounds. In therapeutics, the firm will consider assets in Phase II clinical trials and beyond. In medical devices, the firm will look at 510k and PMA devices that are in the cusp of receiving FDA clearance.

The firm seeks to work with companies with strong, dedicated management teams with a track record of success. While positive revenue is not an absolute requirement, the firm’s portfolio companies generate an average of $10 – 20 M revenue. The firm does not generally require a board seat; currently, the firm has a board seat in approximately 20% of portfolio companies.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 3: Southeast VC Raises Tech Fund with Digital Health Interest

30 Mar

A venture capital firm based in Fort Lauderdale, FL has launched its first fund, aimed at a $50M close. The firm seeks to invest in early-stage technology companies, including those with digital health/healthcare IT products. The firm will generally make equity investments in the $1-2.5 M range but can also deploy smaller, angel investments and provide follow-on investments as the company grows. The firm is looking to secure 3-4 deals per year. The firm will consider all companies based in the US with a focus in the Southeast region.

In the life sciences field, the firm has a strong focus in healthcare IT and is not open to opportunities in therapeutics, medtech, or diagnostics. Digital health products are expected to demonstrate strong market traction with ongoing post-pilot sales.

The firm will support privately owned companies with an experienced management team with a track record of success and the ability to properly execute strong business plans. These companies should be generating minimum $500K revenue, but ideally closer to $1M. The firm prefers to lead financing rounds and will generally seek board representation, as the firm seeks to be an active part of its portfolio companies.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 4: Pharma Firm Opens New Subsidiary to Seek Cutting Edge Biotech and Medtech Platforms

30 Mar

A pharmaceutical enterprise headquartered in Beijing, China has set up a biotech subsidiary in Massachusetts and is actively seeking cutting-edge life science technologies around the world. The firm makes equity investments of US$2-10 million in Seed to Series B stage companies, while later stages up to pre-IPO may also be considered. For overseas deals, the firm prefers to co-invest with top-tier lead investors. The firm is looking for opportunities across the globe.

The firm is looking for technologies across biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and healthcare services that are a strategic fit with its portfolio. The firm is most interested in innovative platform technology in small molecule or biologic therapeutics targeting large disease markets in China. The firm considers early-stage companies from seed to Series B stage.

The firm seeks experienced management teams backed by strong, reputable VC firms. The firm typically requests board representation post-investment. The firm prefers to retain China rights, but this is not a requirement for investment.

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