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How to Be Successful in the RESI Innovation Challenge

20 Sep

By Gregory Mannix, Vice President International Business Development, LSN

LSN holds a high-profile life science competition at every RESI conference – the Innovation Challenge. Thirty early-stage fundraising companies with top-tier life science technologies are selected as finalists to exhibit a poster display of their programs to hundreds of investors and other conference attendees.  These companies compete for the exposure and visibility of being named as the top Innovation Challenge company. So you might ask: out of the hundreds of applications we receive, how do we choose the top thirty?  The LSN scientific review team has compiled a list of attributes we look for in a company and its IC application.

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

What are the key elements of a high-scoring 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 highly 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, commercial or clinical partners. The company will also receive high marks for having what we call “investor-ready” marketing collateral (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 descriptions of a company’s technology is and its significance in improving on current technology, making it difficult to evaluate.

Be forthcoming in your answers.

The team frequently reviews applications that state they have no competitors in the space, when that is not actually the case. Even novel products have competitors; there is a standard-of-care for any given disease or condition.  If your product represents an incremental improvement, just say so.  It can still be compelling!

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, targeted approach that makes your product disease-modifying.

Explain your current status in detail.

Outline everything you have in terms of your current standing, while also providing your outlook on 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-term and-long-term projections.

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 those milestones. For Alliances and Collaborations, state your partners and likely partners (even if you just have a verbal commitment); for IP status, state how many patents you have filed or are planning to file. Providing us with your strategy is better than a simple yes or no.

Provide sufficient detail, but no need to overdo it.

You shouldn’t finish this application in 5 minutes, nor should it take you 5 hours. Your answers should be brief but detailed.  We have received hasty, effortless applications that were subsequently quickly given a low score. On the other hand, as a fundraising company, you shouldn’t need to spend an excessive amount of time on the application. These are all straightforward questions that you should be familiar with and be comfortable answering, as your executive summary should contain all of this information. This application is the backbone of our evaluation process and is, essentially, your executive summary to us.

Send us your marketing collateral.

If you have marketing collateral, 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 by October 3rd!

RESI Boston 2018 Innovation Challenge – Check Out the Winners

13 Sep

By Nono Hu, Director of Marketing, LSN

On September 6th, more than 700 scientist-entrepreneurs and investors entered the exhibition hall at Boston Marriott Copley Place to participate in the RESI conference. They were greeted by 30 Innovation Challenge finalists across therapeutics, medical device, diagnostics, and digital health sectors. The 30 companies, evaluated by LSN’s expert system and scientific & commercial review team, competed directly on merits of innovation and commercial viability. We wish all our finalists the best in bringing their products forward toward commercialization, but there could only be 3 top prize winners.

First Prize: Heartlander Surgical

The HeartLander System’s new approach to debilitating ventricular (heart) conditions comprises low cost disposables and an inexpensive, reusable controller: 1. Disposable sensor array placed on the outside of the torso 2. Disposable, tethered, percutaneously delivered, epicardial walker with multimodal sensing (e.g., Doppler ultrasound for avoiding coronaries) and insertable needle for saline-enhanced radiofrequency ablation (creates small, precise lesions) or for delivering therapy into the myocardium3. Control System that integrates sensor data, maps the heart defect, actuates the walker, plans actions, and provides a visualization display screen and control interface for the physician. Our first clinical focus (NIH-funded through animal PoC) is ventricular tachycardia, but the technology platform can be used for myocardial regeneration therapies, ventricular reshaping, and biventricular pacing.

Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation | Rick Berenson, CEO, Heartlander Surgical | Dwight Meglan, CTO and Founder, Heartlander Surgical | Lucy Parkinson, VP of Investor Research, LSN

Second Prize: BrainStem Biometrics

At BrainStem Biometrics we’re pioneering a new multi-billion medical device category to measure the most important part of the brain that no other company measures. Our first target is ICU medication safety- a much better way to administer essential but powerful sedative drugs to our most vulnerable ICU patients; the old and the young. Today most patients are over-medicated roughly 60% of the time because we have no effective way to measure the level of sedation. Administering sedatives in an optimal manner is proven to reduce length of stay and direct costs by 25% and to reduce 180-day risk of mortality significantly by 10% for tens of millions of intensive care patients. The company has initial sales, 510(k), long-life patents and is raising $800K to complete outcome studies and develop reference accounts.

Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation | Mike Baltay, CEO, Brainstem Biometrics | Lucy Parkinson, VP of Investor Research, LSN | Haig Armaghanian, Investor & Advisor, Brainstem Biometrics

Third Prize: PhysioCue

PhysioCue is on a mission to provide superior quality of life through revolutionary and scientifically proven technology to address epidemics of hypertension and migraine headache with noninvasive devices without side effects. Multinational proprietary technologies that specialized in thermoelectric and bio-sensors are empirically supported by renowned medical experts.

Dennis Ford, Founder & CEO, Life Science Nation | Jonathan Leong, CEO, PhysioCue | Lucy Parkinson, VP of Investor Research, LSN

Thank you to all who competed in the RESI Boston Innovation Challenge, and to all the RESI attendees who took part by investing their votes in their favorite competing companies.

Now Offering RESI NYC Early Bird Rates

RESI First Coast Challenge Innovators Selected for Investor Pitch Competition

23 Aug

By Nono Hu, Director of Marketing, LSN

The First Coast Innovator’s Gathering is a new element of RESI Boston.  Tech hubs and their constituents based in the “First Coast” of life sciences in the US Northeast will gather together at RESI for the first time to get on the radar screens of potential global investors and strategic partners.

First Coast Innovation Challenge invited all eligible tech hub members from DC to Boston to apply for an opportunity to pitch to a panel of early stage investors. The 8 finalists were selected by LSN’s Expert System and scientific review team to present their technology through a 7-minute pitch.  Investors will provide feedback and questions to the pitching CEOs.

The competition is moderated by Dennis Ford, CEO & Founder, Life Science Nation, and the participating investors are:

  • Elona Baum, Managing Director, DEFTA Partners
  • Tim Xiao, Principal, Delos Capital
  • Allan Daisley, Managing Director, Startupbootcamp Digital Health Miami
  • Qiong Ye, Investment Manager, Yonghua Capital
  • Dean Slack, Pharmaceutical Industry exec with New Product Planning, BD, Commercialization & Banking
  • Bert Lederer, Executive Director, Cherrystone Angel Group


Abilis Life Sciences

Tech Hub: FITCI

Abilis Life Sciences is developing a bladder cancer test for the population of over 1,000,000 persons each year detected with hematuria, blood in their urine. Our solution is a highly accurate, non-invasive urine test which will help many people, who fall into the 96% who are negative for bladder cancer avoid needing the full invasive diagnostic work up that is currently the standard of care for diagnosing bladder cancer. Once our test is completed, we plan to license our test to commercial labs who will run the test using our remote SaaS algorithm and pay a fee each time the test is run. We have completed the first version of our test and are accepting specimens from urology centers. We plan to file our application with the FDA in 2019 and begin clinical testing in 2020.


Avidea Technologies

Tech Hub: BioHealth Innovation

Avidea Technologies, Inc. is building a pipeline of immunotherapies for cancer treatment that is enabled by a versatile self-assembling nanoparticle (SNP) technology that was co-developed by Avidea co-founders and in-licensed from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Oxford. Avidea’s lead product enabled by the SNP platform is a personalized cancer vaccine (PCV) for the treatment of advanced epithelial cancers. In rigorous preclinical studies in collaboration with NIH, AVT01 was shown to improve PCV manufacturability and enhance tumor regression. Avidea has developed a CMC process to manufacture AVT01 under cGMP and shown that AVT01 is safe and effective in primates. Avidea held a pre-IND meeting with the FDA. Clinical testing of AVT01 is planned for early 2019.


Cam Med Inc

Tech Hub: UMass M2D2

Cam Med aims to improve health outcomes with drug delivery technologies that enable patients to more easily comply with their medication regimens. Cam Med is commercializing a breakthrough design for a patch pump, the Evopump, the first truly bandage-like, actively controllable patch pump to deliver one or multiple injectable medications. Cam Med intends for the Evopump to become accepted as a platform device, widely adopted across numerous therapeutic areas and indications in partnership with other device and pharmaceutical companies, as both a standalone integrated system as well as the wearable drug delivery component of other companies’ closed loop systems. JDRF has partnered with Cam Med to support the development of the Evopump as an insulin pump.


Medley Genomics

Tech Hub: Brown University

In 2017, 1.7M people in the US were diagnosed with cancer and cancer accounted for 1 in 4 deaths. Recent advances in targeted therapies and immunotherapies have shown promising results in some patients. However, many patients develop resistance to targeted drugs resulting in relapse and it is difficult to predict whether immunotherapy will be effective for a particular patient. Theses challenges result from the fact that tumors are highly heterogeneous, with a tumor sample from a single patient containing a mixture of cancer cells with different complements of mutations. Medley Genomics proprietary data analytics describe this diverse mixture of tumor cells and their unique molecular signatures. These innovative algorithms and software were exclusively licensed for commercialization by Medley Genomics from Brown University based on the ground-breaking work of our co-founder, Dr. Ben Raphael and his continuing efforts at Princeton University. Our insights are necessary for optimizing targeted and combination therapies, personalized oncology vaccines and immunotherapies to individualize cancer treatment and provide hope of lasting cures for patients.


MAG Optics

Tech Hub: JLABS

MAG Optics is an ophthalmic device innovator and has developed the world’s first patient-centric corneal re-shaping platform. The intra-corneal implant is used to treat Keratoconus, a progressive, degenerative eye disease that causes severe visual impairment as well as other indications such as Presbyopia (age-related loss of near vision) and Astigmatism. We have conducted human clinical proof of concept studies (OUS) and implanted into 21+ patients, most with 1-2Y follow-up data. We are currently fundraising to advance regulatory activities with FDA. We are headquartered in Lowell, MA and with a UK office in London.


RistCall LLC

Tech Hub: UMass VDC

When it’s you or your loved one in that hospital bed, and you’re in pain or need help to the bathroom, the wait for an answer to that call bell can seem eternal. Yet on the other end of that call bell, the nurse has no idea what prompted this call, or the other calls from other beds. Whose need is more urgent? Who has been waiting the longest? How can a nurse know? RistCall, a smart watch enabled solution, solves this problem with nurse-resident communication flow. RistCall allows the nurse to prioritize requests based on acuity, urgency, and the time of the call. Before answering, the nurse can know the time, place and reason for the call–without the annoyance of buzzers of alarms.



Tech Hub: FITCI

Theradaptive is a DoD funded MIT spin-out developing a therapeutic delivery platform for targeted tissue regeneration with a total addressable market of over $10B in several clinical indications. The therapeutic delivery platform is based on a proprietary ceramic-binding technology that allows for the tethered delivery of any therapeutic protein on the surface of implants or as depot formulations. Lead clinical indications for this platform technology are spinal fusion and bone fracture repair with secondary indications of dental and maxillofacial reconstruction, and cartilage repair. More broadly the platform can be used to deliver any biologic on the surface of implantable or injectable ceramic carriers. Theradaptive has completed key GLP preclinical animal studies and GMP milestones for its lead therapeutic. We have raised over $6M in non-dilutive capital to date with an additional $7M in pending proposals to the DoD and the NIH.


ZSX Medical, LLC

Tech Hub: PCI Ventures (University of Pennsylvania)

ZSX Medical, LLC, is re-inventing surgical closure through our platform of pre-fabricated, bio-absorbable implants that make the hardest part of minimally invasive surgery fast and easy. Our lead product, Zip-Stitch™, addresses the big problem of cuff closure following laparoscopic hysterectomy (TLH). This final internal procedure can take up to 40 minutes and almost all adverse events in TLH are due to poor cuff closure. Zip-stitch™ will perform this closure in under four minutes and do so perfectly, benefiting the patient, the surgeon and preventing unreimbursed re-operations to save hospitals money.

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