Archive | November, 2017

What Makes A Good Innovation Challenge Application?

30 Nov

By Christine A. Wu, Senior Research Analyst, LSN


Every RESI Conference, LSN holds a fun life science competition – the Innovation Challenge. Thirty early-stage fundraising companies with top-tier life science technology exhibit in a poster-board format for a chance to pitch to investor attendees one-on-one and place as one of three winners voted by conference attendees. Out of our hundreds of applications, how do we choose the top thirty? As the Innovation Challenge application deadline draws near (it is tomorrow folks!), the LSN scientific review team has compiled a list of what we look for in a company and its application.

While the following surrounds the Innovation Challenge application itself, the criteria and the tips we provide are also guidelines for companies to use for their fundraising process. Much of our evaluation and the questions we ask are based on standard criteria that entrepreneurs will face when speaking with investors.

What makes a high-score company?

The LSN scientific review team uses a detailed rubric with a 200-point scoring system. Our evaluation process is based not only on scientific merit, but also on how ready the company is to present to an investor (“investor-readiness”). A perfectly scored company would have a transformational technology that can achievably address a high unmet need using a differentiable novel approach or target. Alongside high innovation, differentiation, unmet need, and market fit, the 200-point company would have a broad IP position, an experienced management team and CEO with top-tier advisors, and strategic alliances with manufacturing and clinical partners. The company will also receive high marks for having what we call “investor-ready” marketing material (executive summary, pitch deck, website).

Application Tips

Clearly describe your technology.

Like any marketing material, you need to be clear. Be sure you understand and answer the questions fully. The team has seen unclear responses as to what a company’s technology is and its significance in improvement.

Be honest with your answers.

The team frequently reviews applications that state they have no competitors in the space, when the honest answer is, there are. Novel products do have competitors before them, for established technology does exist in the indication your product targets. Be honest with whom your competitors are, and then address what the key differentiators are to your product. Even if your product is an incremental improvement, be honest and highlight this and it can still be attractive!

For example, competitors for your disease-modifying therapeutic may be symptom-treating therapeutics in the same indication that are either commercialized or being developed. You should identify these symptom-treating therapeutics and highlight your novel target approach that makes your product disease-modifying.

Explain your current standings in detail.

Outline everything you have in terms of your current standing, while also providing your outlook of where you hope to go. Avoid ambiguous statements such as, “CEO is an experienced entrepreneur”. Instead, provide details that highlight the CEO’s experience – years as an entrepreneur, number and names of companies exited, background expertise, etc.

Provide near-future and long-term horizons.

If you do not have certain criteria, such as a strategic alliance or IP, it’s OK. State your current standing and provide what steps you are currently taking to reach that milestone. For Alliances and Collaborations, state your verbal relationships; for IP status, state how many you have filed or are planning to file. Providing us your strategy is better than a simple yes or no.

Put in a balanced effort.

You should not spend 5 minutes on this application, and neither should you spend 5 hours. Your answers should be brief, as well as detailed – we have received hasty, effortless applications in which we quickly discard with a low score. On the other hand, you also shouldn’t spend an excessive amount of time on the application, as these are all straight-forward questions that you should be comfortable in answering and have down pat. Remember, as your executive summary should answer all these questions alone, this application is the backbone of our evaluation process and essentially your executive summary to us.

Send us your marketing material.

If you have marketing material, send it. This includes your pitch deck, executive summary, website, videos – any supplemental material that can boost our understanding of your technology and whether your company is investor-ready. The application provides limited space – while this forces you to get straight to the point, supplemental material explains what an application cannot (i.e. figures, graphs, pipeline, non-confidential data, etc.).

Overall, applying for the Innovation Challenge is great practice for fundraising companies. For those who have yet to apply, be sure to take note of these suggestions and apply here before midnight tomorrow!

RESI JPM 2018: Agenda Announced

30 Nov

By Jessica Yang, Investor Research Analyst, LSN

Biotech and medtech industry executives are drawing up their itineraries for January’s healthcare conference week in San Francisco, and over a thousand attendees are expected to join Life Science Nation for our Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference in San Francisco on January 9th!

LSN would now like to announce the agenda for RESI San Francisco. Our event will provide a full day of investor panels and workshops devoted to early-stage life science investment topics. RESI features four tracks of content, including the RESI Asia-North America track, which offers attendees the chance to hear directly from investors and strategic partners from across the Pacific who are seeking North American innovation. These panels will be a must-see for any fundraising entrepreneur in the life science sector.

In addition to RESI’s recurring core sector panels Early Stage Therapeutics, Medical Device Investors, Diagnostics and Healthcare IT, RESI San Francisco will also feature the Big Data & Healthcare Panel. The big data space has increasingly become exciting with its potential to transform healthcare through its cross-correlation to broad applications. In addition, LSN will be bringing back the highly popular panel on Genomics. Genomics is becoming a major technology for life science investment, and the panel will provide the opportunity to learn about the kinds of genomic-related breakthrough that investors are looking to back, and the challenges of investing in the genomics field. Be sure to register now for these tremendous opportunities to learn how investors think about your space.

Why Do So Many Investors Come To RESI? It’s Not Only To Meet Startups

30 Nov

By Cole Bunn, Senior Research Analyst, LSN


Life Science Nation (LSN) brought the Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference to life four years ago with the vision of creating a circuit of events focused on bringing together life science entrepreneurs and early-stage investors, from a wide variety of categories, based on mutual fit. One of the most prominent themes we’ve witnessed, after 15 RESI conferences in cities across North America, is the complexity and evolution of the early-stage healthcare ecosystem. The variety of capital sources, strategic partners and other critical stakeholders in the industry has created an environment where investment groups/firms find tremendous value in working together to finance, scale and exit companies.

Investors are primarily drawn to RESI by the large number of top tier startups that attend, but RESI has become much more than a place for investors to find startups and vice versa. While the bulk of the meetings that take place at RESI are between investors and entrepreneurs, RESI also provides a venue for investors to find the newest capital sources, complimentary co-investors and foster relationships with a range of otherwise strategic and exit partners.

We took a look at the partnering meeting data, and discovered that in terms of who meets with whom at RESI conferences, investor-to-investor partnering meetings represent the third largest category, after investor-to-startup meetings and startup-to-service provider meetings. Driven by the unique nature of the early-stage healthcare landscape, LSN’s dedication to bringing in a diverse pool of capital providers makes RESI a must-attend event for all investors and entrepreneurs alike.

We asked some regular attendees their thoughts on RESI’s capacity to help investors connect, and here’s what they said:

“RESI provides a dynamic and fast-paced setting for strategic investors, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs to explore the latest innovations that will disrupt conventional healthcare and redefine the means by which we enable health and wellness in our communities.  As strategic investors, we are particularly interested in RESI to find opportunities to build more patient-centric care models, pilot scalable and efficient delivery models and identify business opportunities to successfully tackle the ‘big’ challenges in healthcare.”
Eric Louie, CMO, Healthbox Global Partners

“I have attended multiple RESIs over the years in SF, NYC and Toronto.  Each has given me a unique perspective on the ecosystem of the area and allowed me to connect with like-minded co-investors and strategic partners.  I will definitely be at the RESI in SF this January.”
Sam Ifergan, President & CEO, iGan Partners

“The RESI conference platform is a highly productive forum for me to engage with both early-stage entrepreneurs and investors. The 30-minute format allows for just enough time to gain a high level understanding of an opportunity or an investors profile. I attend several each year and recommend highly when speaking with both founders and co-investors.”
Sean Kearney, Managing Director, Fosun Group

Qualified investment firms can receive up to two complimentary passes to attend the upcoming RESI conference in San Francisco on January 9, 2018. The previous RESI @ JPM event hit capacity two weeks prior to the date of the conference. Please reach out to to request registration for the event and take advantage of the RESI partnering system to secure meetings and get the most out of your Tuesday during JPM week.


Hot Investor Mandate 1: Pharma Corporate VC Seeking Globally for Innovative Therapeutics, Medical Devices, Healthcare IT

30 Nov

A corporate venture arm of a large pharmaceutical company manages an evergreen fund and currently holds $750 million in assets under management. The fund invests separately from the corporate and is not mandated to invest in areas of strategic relevance with the corporate. The firm makes equity investments in early venture rounds. The firm typically invests up to $10M initially with a total of $15-25M going to a single company over multiple financing rounds. The firm is willing to both lead and co-invest in companies located around the globe and could make as many as 5-6 investments over the next year.

The firm invests in therapeutics, medical devices, and healthcare IT. The firm invests in early stages of development, from preclinical up to Phase IIa drug trials for therapeutics; and for medical devices the firm prefers to invest in companies that are anywhere from just starting a PMA study to on the market. The firm is interested in all classes and indications of therapeutics and devices with their main focus being that the technology be truly innovative and novel. They are not interested in cases of reformulations, re-purposing or “me too” ideas. The firm makes approximately 75% of its investment in therapeutics and 25% across medical devices, and healthcare IT although they are actively looking to increase exposure in these areas. The firm is also open to investing in laboratory equipment and drug development enabling technologies though this area is less of a focus.

The firm prefers to invest in management teams that have demonstrated prior success in the life science industry and are oriented on the goal of bringing a product to market. The firm is currently most interested in privately held companies and looks to take a board seat following investments.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 2: China VC Invests in North American Companies with China Angle, with Focus on Personalized Medicine

30 Nov

A China-based venture capital investment firm with an additional office in the USA is investing from its US $200M fund with a focus on high-tech enterprises in China and western countries. The company seeks to invest in innovative enterprises in sectors including: biomedicine, medical devices, healthcare and bio-tech. Typical equity investments range from $1-6 million in Angel, Series A and B rounds. The firm is looking for opportunities in China, the US and Canada.

Within healthcare, the firm considers biomedicine, medical devices, and healthcare IT. The firm is most interested in personalized medicine products with an angle to the China market. Within healthcare IT, the firm prefers home-care, consumer, or physician-patient interface products. The firm considers products from Angel Round to Series B.

The firm is looking for competent management teams. The firm may request distribution rights 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 Investor Mandate 3: Venture Fund Invests Broadly in Early-Stage Life Science Companies in Southern USA

30 Nov

A life-sciences focused venture capital firm is currently making investments out of its third fund. The firm primarily makes equity investment into seed and early stage rounds ranging from $250,000 to $1M initially and up to $2M over the lifetime of the investment. The firm is focused on companies located in Southern California and the Southwestern United States although they are open to review companies from throughout the US. The firm could make as many as 3 new investments over the next 6-9 months.

The firm is looking for companies in sectors of therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, life science tools and healthcare IT. The firm is agnostic in terms of subsectors and indications within these areas and is also interested in orphan indications and wireless medical devices. The firm looks to invest in early-stage companies including pre-clinical stage companies with some supporting in-animal data, although it is not a requirement.

The firm is looking for privately held companies with experienced management teams. The firm looks to play an active role as an investor and generally looks to take a board or board observer seat following investment.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 4: USA VC Seeks to Invest in Consumer-Facing Healthcare Companies Across North America

30 Nov

A USA-based venture capital firm builds and invests in companies in the healthcare sector, with a focus on personalized health and consumer health. The firm typically invests in seed or Series A rounds and initial investments range from $150,000-$1.5 million, with a potential commitment of up to $5 million over the life of the investment. The firm focuses on companies on the US East Coast but can invest across the USA and Canada.

The firm focuses on healthtech and tech-enabled health services. The firm is also open to investing in devices and diagnostics, but only if they are targeted at consumers as users, rather than physicians, and the firm avoids investing in implantable devices and devices that require a PMA. The firm is open to investing in any area of medicine but prefers to invest in technologies related to chronic diseases, including disease management and care engagement tools. The firm has a strong interest in addiction treatments and physiology, and is also interested opportunities in preventative care and wellness. Neurodegenerative diseases and cancer are also of high interest.

The firm generally does not invest in companies that face FDA regulatory risk; the firm invests in companies with products that are already approved or do not require FDA approval. The firm prefers to invest in revenue generating companies but will consider startups that will begin to generate revenue in 6-12 months.

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