Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference on MaRS Report

13 Apr

By Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation; Creator of RESI Conference Series

RESI’s first MaRS landing was in Summer 2016, and the success of the event revealed a tremendous appetite for an early stage life science investment venue in Toronto.

For 2017, RESI on MaRS built on its initial success to become the centerpiece of the new Toronto Health Innovation Week – a sequence of summits, conferences and receptions that gathered together the most vital players in Toronto’s healthcare ecosystem.  As RESI continues its cycle of events throughout North America, we look forward to working with local bio-med innovation hubs in every RESI city to showcase their innovations and technology resources.

Last week’s RESI on MaRS grew significantly over our 2016 event. Delegates came to RESI from 12 countries. There was a 25% increase in investor attendance. In all, more than 600 attendees came to RESI on MaRS to pitch their ideas or to find new investment opportunities.

More bandwidth was added for RESI Partnering meetings – RESI attendees exchanged over 3000 meeting requests, and 1000 scheduled one-on-one meetings took place. Outside of RESI Partnering, the halls of MaRS Discovery District buzzed with ad-hoc meetings and networking encounters.

30 companies competed in the RESI Innovation Challenge. The victor, Steadiwear, was a MaRS portfolio company.

Partnering Forum

RESI on MaRS also featured three full tracks of content. In RESI’s 16 investor panels, attendees heard from a wide variety of early stage investors and strategic players who are looking to Toronto for new technology opportunities. Some panels focused on a particular funding source such as Family Offices, Public Private Partnerships and Corporate Venture Capital. Others looked at the diversity of the investment landscape in a specific technology vertical, such as Diagnostics or Medical Devices. Meanwhile, the Tales From The Road panel – seasoned life science CEOs who have recent experience of raising capital – spoke about how they’d met the challenge of attracting global investors to back their Canadian startups.

Incubator Accelerator New Models Panel (Ying Tam, Managing Director Health, MaRS Discovery District | Frédéric Lemaitre Auger, Senior Director, Investments, Accel-Rx – Canada’s Health Science Accelerator | Rebecca Yu, Head of JLABS @ Toronto, Johnson & Johnson Innovation | Randy Yatscoff, Executive Vice President, Business Development, TEC Edmonton | Kristi Ebong, Head Strategy Business Development, Cedars-Sinai Health System)

The RESI Asia-North America Partnering Track was added to the event, drawing high level decision makers from healthcare investment firms and major healthcare corporations from China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. These investors defined their interest in investing in healthcare startups in Canada and the US, and explained how to work with a partner in Asia to reach a new marketplace and grow your company.

Asia Pharma Partners Panel (Hiroshi Kawai, Vice President, Mitsubishi Tanabe Holdings America | Tianle Redanz, Director of Business Development, Simcere of America | Weiyong Sun, Senior Director External Scientific Affairs, Daiichi Sankyo | Richard Soll, Senior Vice President, Research Service Division (RSD), WuXi AppTec)

It’s clear that Toronto has a strong ecosystem for generating new healthcare technologies and launching new companies, and RESI on MaRS has served as a catalyst to join those new technologies with relevant, active investors who see the advantages of investing in Canada. By building these new bridges between technology and capital, RESI on MaRS will move science forward in Toronto.

RESI’s next stop will be in San Diego on Monday June 19th – the first RESI event to take place concurrent with the BIO International Convention. If you’d like to join LSN for a day of investor meetings, new panel content and high level networking, you can register now.

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