Archive | May, 2018

In Partnership with KOTRA: Uncovering the Korean Biotech Start-Up Scene at RESI Boston

17 May

By Claire Jeong, Research Analyst, LSN


Even with the RESI Boston conference less than 3 weeks away, the upcoming conference continues to attract an international crowd of early-stage companies and investors. In last week’s newsletter, we discussed how over 1/3 of the registered attendees are coming from firms based outside of the USA. For this particular event, Life Science Nation (LSN) has been working closely with the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) to showcase innovative technologies from South Korea across therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and digital health.

The Korean biotech ecosystem has certainly been growing in all aspects. This year, the government has pledged to invest over $328M (USD) to support the development of new biotech (1). For many years, South Korea has been well-established as a R&D hub – beyond the capital city of Seoul, other cities to keep an eye on include Songdo International City (home to large biotech companies, including Celltrion and Samsung BioLogics) and Daejeon (home to KAIST and a newly established biocluster, the DAEJEON Bio Venture Town). An increasing number of pharmaceutical groups are seeking innovations globally for in-licensing and equity investment. Some groups, like Yuhan Corporation, are planning to expand their operations in the USA, among other developed nations (2).

With these series of recent developments that have been contributing to the growth of Korean biotech/healthcare technologies, it is only natural that more start-up companies are seeking to meet and partner with global firms. Without further ado, here are the Korean companies that are attending and available to meet at RESI Boston!

Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA):
KOTRA, a global business platform, supports small and medium-sized Korean enterprises to explore overseas markets through its 127 offices/networks in 87 countries around the world. This year, KOTRA has partnered with KoreaBio (Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization), KIMST (Korea Institute of Marine Science & Technology Promotion) and COMPA (Commercialization Promotion Agency for R&D Outcome) in presenting a number of promising Korean biotech startups to the world. KOTRA strives to share its expertise and collaborate with these organizations to help biotech startups succeed, continue to grow, and expand its business abroad.

Korean Free Economic Zones (K-FEZ):
Korean Free Economic Zones are specially designated areas created to improve the business and living environment for foreign-invested firms in Korea. Since the 2003 inauguration of an FEZ in Incheon, the number of FEZs in operation has grown to eight: Incheon, Busan-Jinhae, Gwangyang Bay Area, Daegu-Gyeongbuk, Saemangeum-Gunsan, Yellow Sea, East Coast and Chungbuk.

Deep Medi Inc:
DeepMedi developed the first monitor able to read blood pressure from only a smart phone camera without additional special  equipment. Using their artificial intelligence based model, the user can estimate blood pressure from a pulse wave.

L-BASE has developed new peptide drugs for multi-drug-resistance cancers. By controlling the function of a new CTA (Cancer-Testis Antigen), CAGE, these peptide drug candidates can solve multi-drug resistances in cancer, especially lung cancer with T790M mutation and breast cancer. These drug candidates are a first in class in multi drug resistance and now at the stage of IND preparation. L-BASE has published more than 15 international papers on CAGE functions, and has applied for several IPs about peptides drug candidates which control CAGE function.

CellSafe is developing the first bone graft products with dual functions of bone formation and the inhibition of bone destruction which will replace BMP2 (Bone morphogenetic protein 2) products.


MDimune is developing innovative therapeutics for cancer and COPD in order to solve the highly unmet medical needs with BioDrone® technology, which is a target specific drug delivery platform based on artificial exosomes derived from human cells such as immune cells and stem cells.

NosQuest, Inc:

NosQuest is a diagnostics company that develops analytical software and databases to identify microorganisms as well as to diagnose stages of diseases (currently breast & ovarian cancers).  NosQuest is also developing an artificially intelligent cloud-based platform for library diagnostics where hospitals and eventually, patients can access the platform for diagnosis/prognosis.

RADIANQBiO offers breakthrough on-site microchip platforms in resource-poor settings for solving many global heath care challenges, such as rapid detection & prevention of foodborne and waterborne pathogens, to broaden access to unrestricted healthcare & pharmaceutical services, e.g. super-easy platforms for rapid drug screening & clinical trials.


PANAGENE is a sole provider of PNA (DNA analogue) for commercial use and has its own technologies for mass production and various application of PNA. PANAGENE’s diagnostic products are used to identify personalized medicine for patients with various cancer and to detect infectious diseases. Also, PANAGENE developed the first in class detection kit in liquid biopsy in Korea.

Optolane Technologies Inc:
OPTOLANE is a semiconductor integrated In-Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) platform company that is developing POC-MDx solutions of real-time PCR (qPCR) and digital PCR (dPCR) system by using CMOS sensor based technology.

THE WAVE TALK developed a laser-based sensor detects any impurity (including bacteria), even in running water, and continuously and non-disruptively sends a signal to any device, including mobile applications. Their laser-based sensor is extremely more accurate than conventional lasers and is able to detect even low concentrations of bacteria based on its movements in real-time.

Infit & Company Inc:
Infit & Company Inc. was established on the disruptive biological tissue-analyzing technology to fulfill new paradigm of healthcare. Quantified and physiological value will be used in various wellness and medical applications such as belly fat scanner, breast cancer diagnosis device.

ImmuneMed Inc:

ImmuneMed was established in 2000 as one of the pioneer biotech venture companies in Korea. The platform technology of ImmuneMed is phenotype-based excavation of antigen & antibody. First in class anti-viral immunoglobulin (IgG4) drug candidate is effective for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, influenza and dermatitis. Original IP of drug candidate was issued in 2004 and Material IP was applied in Korea and 8 regions around the globe (2016).

Quratis Inc:

Established in 2016 as a venture company, Quratis works as an important base for research partners to cover the Asian region including China with its TB vaccine and other products. Quratis, which has a long-term joint research project with Yonsei University Health System, concluded an exclusive license agreement with research partners for a tuberculosis vaccine in 2017.

Bally’s Co., Ltd:
This young social venture company manufactures pet food by up-cycling agricultural and fisheries products, which are undervalued with its corporate mission of “no life to be dumped”.


Finding Investment Opportunities At RESI: An Interview with Andy Li (Biosense Global)

17 May

Andy Li

An interview with Andy Li, CEO & President, Biosense Global

– By Jessica Yang, Investor Research Analyst, LSN

Jessica Yang

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Andy Li, the founding partner of Biosense Global LLC. Andy has attended nearly every RESI event in the last 2 years. RESI is a partnering event that enables early-stage life science, MedTech and digital health companies to meet and interact with investors and strategic partners based on mutual fit. Recently, we learned that Biosense Global has invested in two companies that Andy first met at RESI.

In this interview, Andy discusses his perspectives on his RESI experiences, Biosense Global’s investments in companies attended RESI, and some suggestions for fundraising CEOs.

Jessica: To begin, please tell us a little bit about your background and your fund.

Andy: My name is Andy Li, and I am the founding partner of Biosense Global LLC. I have more than 25 years of biomedical research and biopharmaceutical industry experience with proven track records in global drug development in multiple therapeutic areas, alliance management, and business development. Currently, Biosense Global invests in early to mid-stage biopharma and Medtech projects. With our R&D facilities in China, in-licensing assets from the U.S. and Europe to China would be an important consideration.

Jessica: How many RESI conferences have you attended? What was your first impression of the RESI Conference series?

Andy: I’ve attended RESI conference six times to date, and the upcoming Boston one will be the seventh. One thing I enjoyed about attending RESI is that I think RESI attracts early-stage companies with good qualities. The companies I met in the previous RESI have solid science and great teams, and RESI allows investors and companies from around the globe to build connections easily.

Jessica: What successes have you experienced through RESI?

Andy: We’ve invested in a company focusing on immuno-oncology that I first met in RESI. The company is called PrimeVax, and this company uses a combination of the dengue fever virus and autologous dendritic cells to induce a strong immune response along with personalized tumor targeting. In addition, we’ve invested in another company call Curtana Pharmaceuticals. I met this company at a previous RESI conference, and we continued a great relationship that eventually led to an investment. Curtana is developing therapies for the treatment of brain cancer, including glioblastoma in adults and pediatric high grade glioma in children.

Jessica: In your opinion, what are the greatest strengths of RESI?

Andy: RESI is a well-organized conference, especially in its online partnering system. Compare to many conferences I’ve attended before; I think RESI has a solid platform that allows investors to have a better understanding of attending companies and book meetings easily online. Also, since Life Science Nation has great connections with many companies in your platform, I think this helps you in organizing the RESI conference, and your significant portion of company connections also help us to find ideal companies that match our investment criteria. Another thing is that I think you choose great times to hold RESI conferences, for example, you hold RESI concurrent with BIO or JPM, and this attracts investors to attend all these events at one time to reduce travel inconvenience.

Jessica: What were some aspects that differentiated the companies you’ve invested in vs. others?

Andy: Overall, I’ll look at three aspects. First and the most important one to me is whether the company’s technology is unique and innovative. Second, I’ll look at the company’s management team – I prefer a solid team with relevant experiences. Last, I think it’s also essential that the company’s investment value is reasonable.

Jessica: How can companies better prepare for an initial meeting with your group?

Andy: Sometimes, early-stage companies that founded by scientist-entrepreneurs may only focus on the technologies. I’ll suggest companies try to touch on technology, IP, commercial potential (more important for not well-known indications), competitor analysis, and fundraising plans, etc.

Jessica: Do you have any suggestions for RESI?

Andy: It would be great for you to give suggestions for attending companies to know what aspects they can cover in their presentations and slide decks. This will help increasing companies’ qualities in RESI.

About Biosense Global LLC:

BioSense Global, LLC is an NJ-based venture investment firm that was founded in 2016 and focused on bridging Eastern and Western innovations and investment opportunities. Biosense invests in early to mid-stage biopharma and medtech projects. In addition, the company has R&D operations in China. Biosense is currently looking for new opportunities globally.

Big Pharmas Explain Partnering Strategy At RESI On June 4th

17 May

By Lucy Parkinson, VP of Investor Research, LSN

In recent years, big pharma companies have begun looking outwards for innovative new therapeutics to add to their pipelines.  RESI has become a venue for these major players to make connections with early stage biotech companies, and RESI includes a panel on Big Pharma to provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to learn directly from experienced pharma scouts on how to find the right partner and get a deal made.

This panel will feature five speakers from various big pharma companies discussing topics such as:

  •     How does big pharma source these assets?
  •     How does the evaluation and investment process work?
  •     How can a startup position themselves to make a deal?
  •     What are some key factors that big pharma companies look for?
  •     How early stage is big pharma willing to look?

These panelists will shed some light on the process that big pharma goes through when sourcing early stage assets and advise startups on how they can best make a case for themselves. Panelists will also explore various trends within the therapeutics marketplace, what assets are of interest to their company, and what they think will be big in the future.

The panelists are:

  • Aaron Schwartz, Director, R&D Innovation Sourcing, Novo Nordisk
  • Brian Bronk, Head of External Innovation, Rare Diseases, Sanofi
  • Murali Gopalakrishnan, Sr. Director, Head Search & Evaluation Neuroscience, AbbVie
  • Nicola La Monica, Senior Director, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines Scientific Innovation, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Boston
  • Yvonne Kobayashi, Sr Director, Emerging Technology & Innovation, Eli Lilly & Co

Hot Investor Mandate 1: Firm Partnered with a Family Office Seeking to Provide Seed Capital to USA-Based Therapeutics Opportunities

17 May

A Chicago-based life sciences investment fund is focused on accelerating the growth of early-stage biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Partnered with a family investment office, the firm seeks to make 10 seed round investments within the next year. The firm will invest in companies based in the U.S.

The firm is seeking investments in biotech/therapeutics companies and is not interested in medical device or digital health technologies. The firm is interested in companies with assets or platform technologies in preclinical or early clinical development and is indication agnostic.

The firm does not have any company management team requirements.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 2: Company Acquired by Chinese Pharma Seeks Early to Mid-Stage Therapeutics Partnering Opportunities, Capable of Investing Up to $100M

17 May

A spin-out pharmaceutical company recently acquired by a Chinese pharmaceutical company is seeking early to mid-stage technology for equity, in-licensing, and acquisition opportunities, and typically invests $10M to $100M per project depending on the opportunity. In the past several years, the company also acquired two USA companies at $200-300M range. The company is seeking opportunities on a global level.

The firm is interested in early to mid-stage therapeutics in inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. The firm seeks preclinical to clinical stage pharmaceuticals with particular interest in large molecule biologics including naturally derived molecules and fermentation based products.

The firm is open to talking with companies, including virtual organizations.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 3: California-Based VC Seeking to Invest in Therapeutic Technologies that Solve Problems Within Genetically Driven Diseases

17 May

A California-based firm backed by a number of well-known global funds is actively seeking investment opportunities. The firm prefers to be the first institutional investor in a company, and is typically an active, lead investor (often the sole investor). The firm typically invests in 5 opportunities per year.

The firm focuses on genetic drivers of disease, and therefore only invests in treatments for monogenic diseases or genetically-driven cancers. The firm is only interested in treatments that elicit a disease-modifying response; treatments that target symptoms of monogenic diseases are not of interest. Therapeutics must have a clearly-defined mechanism of action. The firm usually invests at the preclinical stage, up to 18 months prior to IND, but is open to later stage candidates (including clinical).

The firm focuses on individual products, not technology platforms. The firm typically houses each single asset in its own discrete subsidiary. The firm has internal expertise in medicinal chemistry, biology, and clinical trials, with personnel having significantly contributed to 30+ INDs and 10+ approved drugs. The company will often leverage internal expertise for subsidiaries, and can also assist with recruiting.

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

Hot Investor Mandate 4: Chinese VC/PE Firm Works on Early and Late-Stage Deals in Medical Devices and Therapeutics with China Market Potential

17 May

A Shanghai-based venture capital/private equity firm manages both USD and RMB denominated funds. The firm invests in Series A rounds at $1-2M, though its sweet spot is investing $10-15M in Series B/C rounds. The firm works closely with local provincial Chinese governments, allowing them the ability to bring technology successfully into the Chinese market. The firm will generally not invest in the seed stage and seeks opportunities globally.

The firm invests in pharmaceuticals and Class II medical devices, including an interest in 505(b)(2) repurposed compounds, as well as healthcare-related industries. The firm is interested in all therapeutic areas and in early to mid-development stage companies. The firm focuses on unmet medical needs with a China market potential.

The firm does not have management team requirements. The firm will typically take a board seat post-investment, and has the capability to lead and co-invest.

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