Archive | July, 2017

Growth of An Early Stage Phenomenon: Four Years of RESI in Boston

20 Jul

By Natasha Eldridge, RESI Conference Manager, LSN

natasha-wp-newThe first RESI event ever was held in Boston in 2013, with the goal of bringing the startups and the investors that LSN already worked with together for face to face meetings between parties who would be a good fit for each other’s business. From that seed, RESI has grown beyond all our expectations. We quickly outgrew beyond the capacity of our original RESI venue at the State Room – and our next venue at Fenway Park! With RESI’s 4th anniversary approaching, we can show you how the previous RESI Boston events kept getting bigger and bigger – and we expect the September 26th event to be larger yet, with more opportunities to meet with investors and form key relationships that will get new healthcare products to market.

The sheer number of attendees at our annual RESI Boston fall event keeps climbing. Alongside the rise in total attendees, the number of investor attendees has also kept increasing to keep pace:

Not only that, but as the number of RESI participants increases, we’ve added more and more RESI Partnering spots to keep up with the increased need for bandwidth. We expect to have more one on one spots available than ever at our September event.

While raw numbers tell an impressive and continuing growth story, it’s also worth noting that RESI has continued to innovate in terms of content and spread our global reach. The addition of RESI’s newest track, Asia-North America Partnering & Investment, has brought a new constituency of investors to RESI to look for early stage equity investment opportunities and assets. Meanwhile, every time we have brought RESI to a new city – San Francisco, Houston, Toronto, San Diego – we have sourced new investors and startups to bring into the fold, and many of those players have followed RESI back to Boston.

We hope you will join us in September to be part of RESI’s ongoing story.

RESI San Diego: Family Office Investors Discuss Strategy and What Makes Them Different

20 Jul

By Cole Bunn, Senior Research Analyst, LSN

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As the RESI San Diego event is now in the rearview mirror and we prepare to bring RESI home to Boston (Sept. 26th), we wanted to take a closer look at the Medtech Family Office panel session. Family offices are clearly a highly sought-after investor class and are not completely understood by a large portion of entrepreneurs. To that end, we’ve pulled out some of most insightful points that were discussed and distilled the panel session into this summary video to help shed some light on how family offices evaluate early-stage investments, how to reach them and what differentiates them from VCs and other early-stage investors.

Family offices are not a silver bullet for your financing needs

A lot of entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that finding a family office will solve all their fundraising woes i.e. long-term investors with less rigid requirements. While it is true that family offices tend to be more patient capital and more flexible with terms and deal structures (a result of not having to answer to LPs), these groups are in fact looking for a return and typically will be active either at the board or management level to hit milestones and create value. Additionally, as your company grows and matures, the capital requirements and expertise required for the healthcare space oftentimes necessitate bringing in deep-pocketed institutional investors, who family offices maintain relationships with.

Family offices are purposefully low visibility

Given that family office investors have no mandate or timeline to allocate money, they can wait on the best deals and entrepreneurs to surface, therefore their deal sourcing channels are much different than a VC or another institutional investor. Further, these groups tend to be very much relationship-oriented. Networking is a must to uncover these investors and begin building a relationship, with some of the best events to attend being a part of universities and tech transfer offices as well as focused partnering conferences, such as the RESI conference.

Family offices are not homogenous

This point can’t be stressed enough. While there are some common themes among these groups (mostly dictated by structure or lack thereof), they are largely very different. Some may be more philanthropically motivated as they are looking to fund research/companies pursuing indications that have afflicted their family while others act more like an institutional fund with a focus on returns. It is essential to do as much research as possible on each specific family office to try and find mutual connections and the best way to approach them.

Moderated by Michael Quigley, VP of Investor Research, LSN, the panel includes the following speakers:

  • Sean Kearny, Managing Director, Three Leaf Ventures
  • Kyle Williams, President, Bootstrap Incubation
  • John Kinzell, Sr. Life Science Analyst, The McNair Group
  • Julia Belaya, Director – Corporate Partnerships, Plug & Play Tech Center

Regulatory “Fast Tracking” Could Spell Opportunity for Innovators and Investors in Digital health

20 Jul

By Michael Quigley, VP of Investor Research, LSN

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Earlier this year the FDA announced its plans to develop a Digital Health unit comprised of 13 engineers and experts in the digital health world, with the goal of restructuring the FDA’s assessment of digital health completely, making the process for approval more streamlined for new technologies. This announcement follows a trend of easing on regulations for medical software, as last summer the FDA announced that it would not be regulating fitness trackers and mobile apps.

Fitness apps are really just the tip of the iceberg. Things get much more difficult when you begin to evaluate the clinical validity of a constantly changing algorithm that sorts through streams of medical data to diagnose or recommend treatment options. Currently the FDA’s regulatory process is centered around consistency and reproducibility of results.  In order to accommodate these new technologies, the FDA too must adapt.

Bakul Patel, the associate center director for digital health at the FDA, will be building and heading the new unit. He envisions a new model for approvals similar to the TSA security line at the airport, where established veterans in the space can quickly pass through, while newer developers or those with less than stellar histories would still have to take off their shoes and get a full body scan (1).

It would appear as though that model is taking shape as just last month the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that the FDA would be launching a pilot program under which lower-risk digital health products could be marketed without FDA premarket review, and higher risk products could receive a streamlined review. According to Gottlieb, the pilot would help to certify whether a company “consistently and reliably engages in high quality software design and testing (validation) and ongoing maintenance of its software products. Employing a unique pre-certification program for software as a medical device (SaMD) could reduce the time and cost of market entry for digital health technologies.”(2).

This all is welcome news for innovators, investors, providers, payers, and patients who all stand to gain from the adoption of novel digital health technologies. It would also appear that investors have caught wind early of the FDA’s easing as funding for digital health companies was at an all-time high during the 1st half of 2017 with various research groups citing total numbers between $3.5-$6.5 billion(3). As the FDA solidifies its plans and programs for the review of medical software I would anticipate investment in the sector to remain strong. If the pilot streamlining process proposed by Gottlieb takes hold I could also see more and more large tech firms following in the footsteps of Google and IBM and getting into healthcare, as they have the resources available to qualify for streamlined review.

(1). MEDICINE IS GOING DIGITAL. THE FDA IS RACING TO CATCH UP

(2). FDA Pilot to Sign Off on Low-Risk Digital Health Products Without Premarket Review

(3). Rock Health: digital health funding hits $3.5B in first half of 2017

 

Hot Investor Mandate 1: Pharma Firm Creates Innovation Unit to Invest in New Solutions for Skin Diseases

20 Jul

A pharma firm has created an independent R&D innovation unit to transform early stage innovations into solutions for improving the lives of people with skin disease; the unit is an agile group of scientific experts with an entrepreneurial mindset and a vision to enable precision medicine in Dermatology. The group looks to accelerate breakthrough research projects and technologies by offering scientific expertise and funding to people with great ideas. The group employs a flexible co-funding model and deal structures may vary widely from grants, convertible bonds, equity positions etc. Investments range up to 5 million USD. The unit hub also leverages their large, world-class dermatology network to accelerate projects e.g. help validate novel targets in relevant skin diseases or develop advanced diagnostic technologies.

The firm is exclusively focused on skin diseases, with the vision to enable precision medicine in dermatology. The group’s research focus areas include deep learning, imaging technologies and non-invasive bio-marker technologies. Additionally, the unit continuously explores novel therapeutics (small molecules, biologics, gene therapy, etc.), medical devices, diagnostic technologies etc. that have application in dermatologic indications. The group is open to new ideas and is excited to discuss any opportunities that improve the quality of life of people living with skin disease.

The firm has no strict requirements for companies or management teams and will work with a variety of institutions and entrepreneurs. The group collaborates for the very purpose of advancing science and all collaborations are based on mutual trust and transparency.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email mandates@lifesciencenation.com

Hot Investor Mandate 2: European Life Science VC Invests in Early Stage Biotech and Devices

20 Jul

A venture capital firm based in Europe that focuses solely on the life sciences is investing from their third fund and is actively looking for new investments, usually in Series A & B rounds. Typically, the firm allocates €8M-€10M over the life of the investment with about half of that amount in the initial investment. The firm primarily invests in companies that are based in Europe, but will also consider opportunities in North America with more of a focus on the U.S.

The firm invests primarily 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 initial clinical proof-of-concept up unto reaching regulatory approval, whether that be PMA or 510(k) approval. The firm is somewhat less interested in diagnostic technologies. The firm is generally agnostic in terms of subsectors and indications with the primary focus on products that address clear unmet opportunities. Historically, the firm has invested in biotech therapeutics that address a wide variety of inflammatory, orphan, respiratory, autoimmune, infectious and cardiovascular disorders. Medical device investments have included a non-active implantable device for pulmonary embolism, as well as devices for renal and cardiovascular and peripheral 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 mandates@lifesciencenation.com

Hot Investor Mandate 3: Medical Technology Fund Looks Globally for Precision Medicine Opportunities

20 Jul

A medical technology venture firm based in New England makes equity investments in early stage companies developing products for to accelerate the trend of precision medicine diagnostics. The firm seeks a leading investment position and deep involvement with its portfolio companies. Typical investment ranges from $5-15 M and is calibrated to milestone attainment. With a global view and global operational capabilities, the firm is currently seeking opportunities around the world.

The firm focuses on three market segments that support knowledge-generating precision medicine diagnosis: 1) mobile health, data analytics, and healthcare IT; 2) high specificity in-vivo and in-vitro diagnostics; and 3) diagnostic technologies that guide or are a companion to precision therapies. The firm is looking for technologies that will dramatically improve patient health and have the potential for global markets and scale.

The firm is looking for experienced management teams with deep domain expertise. The firm typically request board representation post-investment.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email mandates@lifesciencenation.com

Hot Investor Mandate 4: Japan Based Pharma Looks Overseas for Pharma, Device and Home Healthcare Innovations

20 Jul

A pharma firm headquartered in Tokyo, Japan focuses on two main sectors: pharmaceutical and medical device for home healthcare. The company is seeking innovative medical technologies to strengthen its pipeline while expanding into new areas. The company is looking for in-licensing and collaborative R&D opportunities in the US, Canada, EU, and Israel.

The firm has existing businesses in respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, and orthopedics. The firm is seeking innovative, home-care, therapeutic medical devices in the disease sectors described above. The firm is also interested in home patient monitoring products. In addition, the firm is looking for innovations in the following areas: neurological disorders such as stroke, depression, Parkinson’s disease, etc.; cancer; wound care; and rehabilitation, which are all must be used at home care. The company is most interested in PMA and de novo therapeutic devices in the home-care settings. The company prefers assets with initial patient data. Furthermore, the firm is seeking opportunities in digital medicine business (but not for consumer products) in disease areas described above.

Within pharmaceuticals, the firm is looking for late clinical stage assets in orthopedics, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. The firm is most interested in small molecule and peptide drugs.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email mandates@lifesciencenation.com