Archive | December, 2017

Partnering: Transitioning Conferences from Information-Centric to Relationship-Centric

14 Dec

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

Life Science Nation’s Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) conference is a partnering event that requires high touch on both the buy side (investors and pharma) and sell side (startup) constituents. To do partnering correctly takes a high human resource allocation; it is expensive to fund, and requires deep curation of a clientele database for each conference iteration. LSN has discovered that our database curation begets savvy list management, which in turn allows us to target constituents and provide them with customer support and training to use the partnering system efficiently. In today’s life science domain, conferences still lead as a place to make new business connections in addition to accessing the latest information on the advances in drugs, devices, diagnostics, and healthcare IT.

Informational-based life science conferences have worked for decades to successfully “break the profitability code”. Breaking the code means finding the precise point between internal resource output and maximum revenue gain, and balancing on it. The irony here is that if the conferences wish to be part of the industry’s new trend of relationship-based conferences with a strong partnering component, they will have to modify their view on resource allocation for partnering at their events. This may seem like a small issue that simply requires dedicating more resources to partnering, which causes a hit to the bottom line. However, it is actually a huge core issue that exposes an inherent dichotomy that must be traversed, or we will see a upheaval in the traditional conference market.

A lot of the information-based, super technical, scientific conferences that cater to academia and very early stage discoveries have found themselves in the crosshairs of big pharma and other large partners who are moving upstream to find technology that isn’t already identified and partnered up. This is another reason why these early stage scientific conferences are now in need of a partnering component, which will require higher capital spend and higher human resources to implement. This epiphany will go against the basic grain of the business philosophy of most of the conference providers. I will posit that if they don’t get partnering right, they will become vulnerable as there is a distinct and growing need from both buyers and sellers to build business connections at these conferences. The question is, can the conference providers change the lens on how they value their conferences?

The conference folks I talk to seem unconvinced that you really need a partnering effort that goes beyond a basic software application and a dedicated space at their venues. Indeed, it seems as if they are still trying to talk themselves into supporting partnering at all! Is this a fatal flaw?

Based on the 5 years of experience that I have garnered in the partnering conference marketplace, I will provide some of my insights. Great partnering is very hard to get right, it’s resource intensive and it is “high touch”. You do successful partnering by creating a consistent dialogue with your constituents. This entails focused marketing via newsletters promos, emails and phone canvassing. You need dedicated staff who reach out (yes, talk with!) and understand both the buy-side and sell-side needs of the clients. The staff’s job is to talk to the clients and understand their needs and keep a record of what the client needs, what technology they are interested in and who they are seeking to meet. If you initiate this compelling dialogue, it soon turns into a relationship, and having a direct relationship with your clients is the holy grail.

I also question whether the conference providers want great partnering or “me too” partnering? LSN’s style of interactive dialogue and relationship building through business development is very different than that of info-based conference organizations. LSN’s thesis is that we are NOT a conference company; we are a buyer seller matching platform with a conference, and that’s what gives RESI’s partnering platform its incredible power to forge new connections.

RESI San Francisco @ JPM Week – Medical Devices Panel Announcement

14 Dec

By Claire Jeong, Research Analyst, LSN


With RESI San Francisco less than a month away, we are proud to announce the Medical Device investors panel, where 5 seasoned experts in medical device investments will discuss how they seek to work with early-stage medical technology entrepreneurs.

The fundraising process and path to commercialization for medical device products continue to be a rigorous challenge for many budding companies. Especially with the exponential growth of the IoT/IoMT market, a growing number of entrepreneurs are focusing on the development of connected, “smarter” devices that incorporate a software or data component. Although often overshadowed by the biopharmaceutical industry in terms of degree of need or financial returns, the medical device sector is a very much needed area in the improvement of healthcare.

If you are a medical device entrepreneur and heading to San Francisco for JPM week, you do not want to miss out on our RESI Medical Devices panel! Our panelists are:

  • Renee Ryan, Vice President, JJDC, Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JLABS)
  • Yao Li Ho, Director of Business Development, LYFE Capital
  • Zishan “Z” Haroon, Chairman & General Partner, Julz Co LLC
  • Sam Ifergan, President & CEO, iGan Partners
  • Randy Scott, Partner, HealthQuest Capital

Impact Investors and Venture Philanthropists Explain How They View Impact Opportunities

14 Dec

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

Nonprofits and foundations have long played a part in funding basic research into disease biology. However, it takes more financing and development resources for this valuable work to create new products that make an impact on patients. This has caused a trend in the philanthropic space toward investing in early stage life science ventures that have the power to transform treatment in a space of unmet need or to significantly improve health outcomes. Simultaneously, some financially-minded investors have seen the possibility of investing more meaningfully, and have chosen to put their wealth to work in venture funds that look for a ‘double bottom line’ – a good return on capital plus a positive result for the world.

At RESI San Francisco, this investment trend is showcased at the Venture Philanthropy and Impact Investment panel. This panel features both philanthropic organizations and for-profit investment funds, with focuses ranging from a rare disease with no cure to the broad goal of improving healthcare. We’re looking forward to what should be a wide-ranging discussion on how these investors find the right startup investing opportunities to fulfil their respective missions.

Moderated by John Reher, Managing Director – Brain Trust Accelerator Fund, the panelists are:

  • Debra Miller, Founder – CureDuchenne Ventures
  • Ken LaMontagne, VP, Research – Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
  • William Werkmeister, Partner, ICIF Fund – National Foundation for Cancer Research
  • Cynthia Ringo, Managing Partner – DBL Partners

Hot Investor Mandate 1: Corporate VC Arm of Large Cleantech Company Seeking Opportunities in Biotech and Healthcare

14 Dec

A corporate venture arm of a China-based company that that focuses on water treatment, sludge treatment, solid waste disposal, and special pump manufacturing, is currently operating a $25M USD fund and a $200M RMB fund that focus on cleantech, hardware, healthtech, and biotechnology. In addition, the firm is also in the process of developing a new acceleration program in the USA dedicated for cleantech innovations. Unlike many other corporate VC arms that have a slow internal investment process, the firm is able to proceed quickly with their decision making process.

The firm has invested in 10 companies since its establishment in 2017 and is actively seeking investment opportunities in the sectors mentioned above. The firm will initially invest up to $1M in equity. The firm works closely with the local government in China and utilizes domestic resources to support company growth in China, but China angle is not necessary for investment. The firm is open to companies globally.

The firm invests broadly in the life sciences and healthcare sectors, including therapeutics, medical devices, and diagnostics. However, the firm will most likely not invest in healthcare IT technologies. The firm is establishing a hospital in China and is most interested in technologies that could be integrated in hospital systems. The firm is agnostic in terms of the company’s stage of development.

The firm is interested in working with companies supported by an experienced management team with strong expertise. The firm is open to acting as a lead or co-investor and is capable of bringing other regional investment groups to syndicate rounds.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 2: Europe-Based VC Firm Focused Exclusively in Oncology Therapies Globally

14 Dec

A firm headquartered in Europe is exclusively focused on the development of oncology therapies. The firm makes selective investments in early-stage drug development companies targeting cancer therapies that can bring solid proof of concept to the table. Typically, the firm invests in incorporated companies from late seed stage to early series B. The investment size will vary, and it can range from a few hundred thousand dollars up to a couple of million dollars. The firm may make 3-4 investments in the next year, depending on the opportunity. The firm has no geographic restriction and is actively seeking new investment opportunities across the globe.

In the life sciences, the firm is currently seeking new investments targeting the development of oncology therapies, and is open to all types of therapeutic modalities and all indications within the oncology space, including platform technology that has a lead oncology therapeutic product. The firm will typically not invest in medical devices or diagnostics, unless as companion to a therapeutic solution. Project will be evaluated on solid preclinical proof-of-concept (late preclinical stage/pre-IND or early clinical), and will often fund the companies at least up to human proof-of-concept (clinical Phase Ib – Phase IIa).

Representative portfolio companies include: a company developing small-molecule and antibody compounds targeting tumor related immune suppression, enhanced APC function and immune cell efficacy; a company developing novel immune modulating antibody therapeutics to harness the immune system against cancer; a spin-out company of a large pharmaceutical company developing a new generation of highly selective MET kinase activity inhibitors with augmented therapeutic index; a company developing hypoxia activated pro-cytotoxic small molecules; a company developing a versatile nanoparticle platform which allows payload delivery in the tumor micro-environment, etc.

The firm only invests in private companies with experienced management teams and breakthrough potential. The firm most often takes the responsibility to be lead investor, alone or in syndicate as the opportunity demands, and wants to be actively involved in the successful development and growth of the portfolio companies. To this end, the firm has a several experts in oncology, intellectual property and drug development on the investment team and available to the portfolio companies.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 3: Global Medical Device Company Makes Strategic Medtech Investments in the Cardiovascular and Neurostimulation Space

14 Dec

A Europe-based, global medical technology company formed by two medical device groups is actively seeking medical device investment opportunities. The firm typically invests early on in the development (series A or B) stage. The firm seeks to invest in the range of $1M-15M per company, though would pursue larger ($100M and up) deals if there were a strong rationale that would make the company an ideal, revenue-generating fit to the portfolio. The firm seeks to make 1-2 larger deals and 3-4 smaller ones within the next year and seeks investments globally.

The firm’s key focus areas are (1) neuromodulation (devices for epilepsy, obstructive sleep apnea, etc.), (2) cardiac surgery (heart valves, perfusion products), and (3) structural heart (transcatheter products for mitral, aortic, tricuspid repair and replacement). The call points that the firm targets are neurologists, ENTs; cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, and perfusionists.

The firm is not currently focused on therapeutics or lab equipment technology, though may be open to those used to assist procedures in the cardiovascular/neurostimulation space. The firm looks at both PMA and 510K devices, as it traditionally invests in PMA devices, and is now gaining an increasing interest in 510K devices.

The firm prefers experienced management teams, and may take a board or observer seat after an investment.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 4: Joint Venture Arm Invests in Digital Health Companies with USA Focus

14 Dec

A digital health investment company launched in 2016 by a leading pharma and venture capital firm in the industry focuses on the digital health space ranging from therapeutics to diagnostic solutions in areas such as: precision medicine, behavioral health, wearables, and data analytics. The firm is seeking to make 6-8 new investments within the next two years. The firm’s investments range dependent on the opportunity, and focuses on investing in Seed to Series A rounds. For earlier stage companies, the firm has the ability to both lead and co-invest. The firm focuses on companies based in the U.S., but is open to invest globally.

The firm focuses on digital health technologies and solutions that aim to improve patient care and lifestyle. The firm is especially interested in technology with a software component, such as those that control patient care through monitoring medications and therapies, as well as technology with a big data component. The firm will only look at devices if they have an information component and/or generate data. The firm is also interested in technology with machine-learning applications. The firm is not interested in pure EMR or hospital IT systems. Based on all the criteria, the firm is indication agnostic.

The firm is a very active investor that seeks to be fully involved in their portfolio companies. The firm will take a board seat after the investment and will help companies fill management teams, if necessary.

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