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Rx Bandz Finds Great Success at RESI

6 Apr
Jessica Walsh
Interview with Jessica Walsh, Founder and CEO, Rx Bandz

By Caitlin Dolegowski, Marketing Manager, LSN

Caitlin Dolegowski

Caitlin Dolegowski (CD): Please introduce us to Rx Bandz and the company’s technology.

Jessica Walsh (JW): We created MiniJect®, the world’s smallest auto-injector, that is designed to deliver a wide range of injectable medications, including viscous biologics and vaccines, from 1 mL – 5 mL via intramuscular or subcutaneous injection.  It’s easy to use, extremely rugged and reliable, waterproof, temperature resistant, and versatile.

We started out to deliver epinephrine targeting the huge global market of people who have severe allergies.  We added work with the military, and our pipeline has expanded to include injectable medications to stop pain, hemorrhages, and other emergency conditions within the $55 billion auto-injector market.

CD: Tell us about the Rx Bandz team.

JW: We have an amazing team with decades of experience in engineering, drug development, and quality management. In addition, they have brought other auto-injectors to market.  We started with a few core people and grew to attract world experts and strategic partners.  They are experienced and smart, but also, they fit into our lean and agile way of working: mission-focused, collaborative, and supportive.

CD: Rx Bandz first attended a RESI conference in Vienna. How did you learn about the conference?

JW: We were just starting out when I received an email. It was my first international conference to present our auto-injector. I still recall the energy of the space and connecting with amazing people from our industry that attended the event from around the world. I still stay in touch with many of them. We have been very fortunate to have so many people who are enthusiastic about our technology and have supported our efforts.

CD: What stage of fundraising is Rx Bandz in and what were you looking to accomplish at RESI when you originally registered?

JW: We are currently raising our Series A round that will take us through FDA approval and commercialize MiniJect. This is a high-growth opportunity for investors who have an interest in making healthcare safer, more effective, efficient, and affordable.

When I attended RESI, we were raising our Seed round, which ended up being oversubscribed and more than exceeded our goals. The conference helped us to connect with investors who were looking for a truly transformative medical device that meets patients’ needs in a global market with high revenue potential. We also met with pharmaceutical companies that were interested in MiniJect as a cost-effective, patent-centric drug delivery platform that could reliably deliver their formulation.

CD: When we spoke, you referenced RESI as being of great value in regard to timing and attendees. Can you tell us more about the appeal of RESI?

JW: The event at RESI provided us with international recognition in the healthcare industry during Bio Week in Vienna, Austria. It provided a platform for us to connect with investors and pharmaceutical companies that we would otherwise not have had the opportunity to meet. It is an excellent opportunity to meet with the right people.

CD: You all had some great success at RESI Vienna! You were RESI Innovation Challenge (now called the Innovator’s Pitch Challenge) winners. What did this success bring for Rx Bandz? 

JW: Winning RESI Innovation Challenge was a huge honor. We were up against some of the most innovative companies. Our entire team was thrilled that our work was recognized on an international platform.

I believe when presenting to investors, they like to see that your company has been vetted and the technology has received awards and or accolades. The RESI conference and competition provide a wonderful opportunity to showcase technology and promote the organization.  Besides a company’s innovative technology, it is critical that startups build relationships to form strategic partnerships and attract investment. Winning the International Innovation Challenge at RESI helped us to accomplish these goals.

CD: What advice would you like to provide to fellow entrepreneurs?

JW: I like to put the patient at the forefront of our efforts. It helps to know their stories and be inspired by the people who survived if they had our technology.  There is no doubt life science start-ups face challenges that organizations in other industries might not, and it can be a difficult pathway. It makes everything easier when you put the patient first. In addition, be bold, build a great team, and be unrelenting in your pursuit to bring your technology to market.


Life Science Nation & Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) Equals RESI Success

23 Feb
Miriam Kent
Interview with Miriam Kent, General Manager, Business Growth, Trade and Talent, Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA)

By Caitlin Dolegowski, Marketing Manager, LSN

Caitlin Dolegowski

Life Science Nation (LSN) worked with the Brisbane Economic Development Agency and their MedTech Accelerator cohort in a hybrid Entrepreneurial Education program that culminated at RESI JPM San Francisco. We talked with Miriam Kent, General Manager, Business Growth, Trade and Talent at BEDA to learn more about their take-aways from the education course and RESI conference and hear what is next for the MedTech innovation coming from Brisbane.

Caitlin Dolegowski (CD): Introduce us to Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA) and discuss your focus in the life science industry and how the MedTech Accelerator cohort came to be? 

Miriam Kent: General Manager, Business Growth, Trade and Talent at Brisbane Economic Development Agency: As Brisbane’s champion, BEDA works to enhance and promote the city’s reputation globally, drive visitation, and attract investment and talent in key growth industries.

We support domestic and international investors with full market entry and expansion strategies, while supporting local businesses to scale globally and grow through our accelerator programs.

BEDA’s MedTech Initiative is designed to elevate our exceptional local talent, to attract international investment, and fast-track life-saving medical products to the market.

Brisbane has a strong track-record for innovation thanks to our world-class research institutes and universities. We’re supporting the next generation of companies to stand out in a globally competitive market, to foster fresh developments and discoveries.

CD: BEDA brought a MedTech Accelerator cohort to work with Life Science Nation (LSN) in a hybrid (virtual and in person) educational program and wrapping the program at RESI JPM San Francisco, can you tell us about the startups that attended? 

MK: A rapid test for sepsis, a bionic voice box, and an inhaler for anaphylaxis are just some of the life-changing healthcare innovations produced by the Brisbane cohort.  We were extremely proud to see two Brisbane companies take out gold and bronze in the Innovator’s Pitch Challenge.

Field Orthopaedics impressed the panel of seasoned investors and industry experts to secure the top prize for their innovative surgical screws and nails for treating complex fractures.

Meanwhile, Max Kelsen, claimed bronze with its machine learning solutions that are transforming the way scientists store, analyse and work with data to fast-track vital research.

Leading Brisbane MedTech companies – Clinials, De Motu Cordis, Laronix, Microbio and Midnight Health were also awarded finalist seats and were successful in attracting global investor and partner interest.

CD: Congrats to the BEDA cohort who did very well in the Innovator’s Pitch Challenge at RESI JPM San Francisco, taking 1st and 3rd place! What aspects of the LSN educational program were most useful to help get the companies ready for JPM Week and pitching at RESI? 

MK: While these businesses are experts in their fields, knowing how to pitch their idea and who to pitch to on a global stage can be a challenge for some early-stage ventures looking to secure investment. With the support of Life Science Nation, our cohort members have been able to create strategies and connections to advance their global fundraising campaigns in a pivotal international market.

Throughout the program, the cohort has also benefited from mentorship from peak bodies like Life Sciences QLD, industry leaders like Vaxxas and ASX-listed Microba, as well as advice from local investors and venture capital groups.

CD: The educational program also featured executives from leading MedTech firms such as Stryker and Philips; how do you think their contributions shaped the success of the cohort at RESI JPM? 

MK: Insights shared by global leaders like Stryker provide invaluable context and underline the importance of a refined and strategic funding campaign.

Stryker’s recent investment in Brisbane’s Herston Quarter health precinct will help drive medical technology, innovation, and collaboration to improve patient outcomes and solidify our city’s capability and reputation as a global science and research leader.

CD: Did the mix of virtual content over several months and in-person tutoring at the start of the JPM Week work well? 

MK: The mix of virtual and in-person content ensures we can deliver an intensive, comprehensive learning experience, in a convenient way for leaders with busy schedules.

It is exciting to see the discussion and collaborations across continents.

CD: What is next for BEDA’s MedTech Accelerator cohort? 

MK: The feedback we’ve received has been hugely positive and we look forward to working with a new cohort for year two of our MedTech Accelerator in 2023.

The outstanding success of our local start-ups, in a competitive global market, is a testament to the quality of the research and development that’s happening here in Brisbane.

We’d like to thank Life Science Nation for partnering with us to support this vital industry.
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Get to Know RESI Sponsor BE Health Ventures

26 Jan
Arthur Chen
Arthur Chen
Interview with Arthur Chen, Managing Partner, BE Health Ventures

By Caitlin Dolegowski, Marketing Manager, LSN

Caitlin Dolegowski

BE Health Ventures is the largest institution in Taiwan with a venture fund and accelerator dedicated to HealthTech, MedTech and digital health startups. Based in Taipei, they leverage the unique strengths of Taiwan’s thriving ecosystem to position themselves as the gateway to Asia for both local and international startups. BE Health was a valued sponsor this past RESI JPM San Francisco in January. In the following interview, BE Health’s Managing Partner, Arthur Chen, gives us insight into BE Health and how they are serving both local and international startups.

Caitlin Dolegowski (CD): Please introduce us to BE Health Ventures.

Arthur Chen (AC): BE Health Ventures is the FIRST and ONLY hospital-backed VC in Taiwan. We launched the accelerator program in 2018 and have helped accelerate about 100 different startups since then, backed by the support of two of the largest hospital networks in Taiwan. The total fund raised by the alumni has surpassed $150M USD.

In addition to helping secure funding, our accelerator program provides non-financial resources to help our startups to validate their solutions and business ideas with our hospital partners. And through our venture capital fund, we invest in companies with exciting potential and help them expand across Asia.

CD: What are some traits of the Asian markets that are different from the USA or Europe markets?

AC: Asia contains 60% of the world’s population and continues to grow. It is estimated that by 2030, the region will also have 60% of the world’s population aged 65 or older. According to a recent report I studied, the total estimated healthcare spending in Asia alone is estimated to exceed $4 trillion by next year, with hospitals, home care, telemedicine, medical device, and drug development expected to lead the way. In fact, the Asia-Pacific region has far surpassed the United States and Europe in terms of the demand for healthcare. Currently, the market growth in Asia Pacific is 19.9%, much higher than the 10% growth rate in the U.S. and Europe. However, unlike the US or Europe, Asia is not a single market. We have China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia… and so on. Different countries have different regulatory paths, such as NMPA in China, PMDA in Japan, and each country also has its own reimbursement policies and payer structure; not to mention that cultural differences add to the threshold for overseas startups to enter the Asian market. Therefore, we have launched the accelerator program to help.

CD: What should we as investors be looking for from startups that want to enter the Asian markets? How do you evaluate whether they made the most of it or not, and is that a good indicator for future success?

AC: Given the diversity of country profiles in Asia, it would not be easy to successfully penetrate different countries’ markets to achieve scale. Each market takes time to operate because of the differences in culture and government health policies. We find that the successful MedTech companies would be those that can offer differentiated technologies that are superior to the competitors but partner locally to provide a customized solution to attract customers in different markets. The companies that can provide end-to-end medical solutions that meet the full range of each customer’s needs will likely gain more market share.

CD: On the topic of American or international startups entering the APAC region, what makes Taiwan an attractive launchpad? Why did you choose Taiwan, and what is your plan for the Asian market hereafter?

AC: There are many reasons why Taiwan is a viable choice to start your business in Asia. Here are some.

1) Taiwan is in the center of Asia: The average flight is 2h55m to six major cities in the western Pacific- Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 2) Medical Resources: The NHI (National Health Insurance) in Taiwan has collected over 20 years of digitized, single-payer medical data. 3) Supply Chain: Strength in creating proprietary technology, R&D & manufacturing. 4) Convenient Entry for Foreign Talents: Foreign entrepreneurs can apply for the Entrepreneur Visa or the Employment Gold Card, both of which are routes for international talents to reach Taiwan. To sum up, Taiwan serves as an important bridge connecting the West to emerging Asia-Pacific markets. The geographical location of Taiwan makes it the perfect place to start your business in Asia, and then leverage Taiwan as a launchpad to expand your business presence to the rest of Asia.

CD: How would you characterize the current startup investment scene in Taiwan? What kind of opportunities should we be aware of?

AC: Startup investment in the health and medical sector in Taiwan has been heating up year by year. In 2021, the number of early-stage investments in this sector nearly tripled, with over 430 deals funded, reaching a record high. Cell therapy, CDMO, medical AI, and advanced medical devices are some of the hottest topics in Taiwan’s early-stage funding market, serving as the main drivers of this wave of healthcare investment boom. With new medical treatment and new technological breakthroughs, more ICT companies and cross-sector startups are expected to join the industry.

Due to the size and growth rate of the Asian healthcare market and the power of technology to transform the industry in recent years, more technology giants have chosen Taiwan as their base in Asia to form partnerships with the healthcare industry. For example, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have all set up offices and formed R&D teams in Taiwan. This trend of Taiwan becoming a medical technology cluster in Asia Pacific is already taking shape.

CD: What can BE provides for the international startups?

AC: BE supports both local and international startups to start, scale and grow within the challenging healthcare ecosystem in Asia. One thing that sets us apart as a VC is our unparalleled access to hospital facilities. In Taiwan, we partner with two of the largest hospital groups, namely Show Chwan Memorial Hospital and Taipei Medical University. And with these two partnerships combined, we can access about 15 hospitals across the Asia-Pacific region as well as IRCAD Taiwan, the largest non-invasive surgical training center in all of Asia. We offer an acceleration program called PoC (Proof of Clinical Evidence) for every stage of startups to use Taiwan as their launchpad into the Asian market, to verify product feasibility and market demand. The program recruits 1 batch per year and it follows a 20-24-week curriculum.

The BE PoC Accelerator Program provides the ideal opportunity for international startups to explore business opportunities in Asia. With our network of hospitals, startups can explore unmet clinical needs through needs validation, establishing a hospital pilot site, and access to medical resources. Startups interested in clinical trial, manufacturing, data access and fundraising resources will also benefit from our network across Taiwan and Asia.

We are now in the process of recruiting startups for a new batch. Startups interested in Asian market are welcome to apply!

CD: We were thrilled to have BE Health Ventures as a sponsor and exhibitor at RESI JPM San Francisco! What were some of your takeaways from RESI? 

AC: The RESI conference connects startups with early-stage investors and strategic business partners. This year, we led 10 Taiwanese startup teams in the Pitch Challenge, many of which were highly rated by investors, and CytoAurora won second place. This is a proof to Taiwan’s innovative strength. As a startup accelerator and venture builder, BE Health continues to look forward to more cross-border collaborations, connecting the West and the East.

RESI March 2023 Digital Copy (FULL Banner Size)

Watershed Informatics Exhibit at RESI JPM San Francisco

15 Dec
Madeline Kelly
Interview with Madeline Kelly, Head of Sales, Watershed Informatics

By Caitlin Dolegowski, Marketing Manager, LSN

Caitlin Dolegowski

Watershed Informatics’ intuitive Data Lab platform empowers our clients to design, execute, and iterate their own sequencing analyses, shortening time between iterations and enabling more efficient and effective experimentation. They expedite and multiply the development of targeted, breakthrough therapies and diagnostics. Watershed returns to RESI this January as an exhibitor. In the following interview, Watershed’s Head of Sales, Madeline Kelly, provides insight on how Watershed came to be, their technology, team, and target customer.

Caiti Dolegowski (CD): Please introduce us to Watershed. Tell us about your technology and platform.

Madeline Kelly (MK): Watershed Informatics is the first fully verticalized bio-IT platform. Our Cloud Data Lab enables life sciences organizations of any size to perform mission-critical bioinformatics analyses (such as bulk, single-cell, and spatial transcriptomics; WGS, proteomics, protein folding, AI/ML etc.) at an order of magnitude less cost and complexity than existing solutions. With purpose-built infrastructure specifically optimized for catalyzing the life sciences development pipeline, our product enables biologists to analyze their own data and bioinformaticians to rapidly prototype and deploy bespoke analytic workflows across an organization.

CD: Tell us about Watershed’s team?

MK: We are a team of expert bioinformaticians, software engineers, and biologists inspired by one mission: to enable all scientists – regardless of their programming capabilities – to leverage multi-modal data for building better drugs faster.

CD: Watershed’s Cloud Data lab can be traced to a conversation between co-founders, Jonathan Wang and Mark Kalinich. What was the conversation and how do they complement each other?

MK: Jonathan and Mark have been friends since their first day of MIT – they were actually next-door neighbors freshman year! As a software engineer, Jonathan has always been fascinated by high-performance computational infrastructure. He co-founded an algorithmic trading firm while still a student at MIT. While there, he perfected the tech stack required to democratize access to petabyte-scale ML infrastructure for software engineers and financial researchers alike. Mark is a Harvard-trained physician-scientist with nearly 15 years of translational research experience across diagnostics and therapeutics development. His mission is to improve the lives of patients by developing and deploying the enabling technologies required to bring therapeutics out of the laboratory and into the clinic. Their expertise and passions directly intersect at the problem Watershed solves: uncorking the bottleneck for biotech and pharma’s data-intensive research efforts.

CD: Who is your target customer? And what are the different offerings you provide your clients?

MK: Our target customers want to successfully and efficiently analyze their big biology data (most often -omics, but also protein folding and high content imaging) without the massive overhead currently required. (To learn more about what we mean by overhead, download our white paper). With our no-code / low-code / high-code interoperability, our platform is useful to biologists and bioinformaticians alike.

CD: Do you have a process for assessing your clients’ needs? How does that work?

MK: Watershed employs a highly consultative sales and onboarding process. We thoroughly assess the needs of our customers by learning about their workflow, analysis, and visualization needs. Our team of bioinformaticians are ready to assist our clients from day 1.

CD: Could you give us examples of current Watershed clients and how they’ve utilized your informatics?

MK: Some of our clients include SalioGen, Cellino, SynDevRx, Rejuvenate Bio, Rarebase, Revitope, and a few stealth biotech startups. Our customers’ most common request is processing next-generation sequencing data across a variety of workflows (bulk, single-cell, and spatial RNAseq; whole genome and whole exome sequencing, bulk and single-cell ATACseq, immune repertoire sequencing, CRISPR-based analyses, custom sequencing libraries, etc) and technologies (Illumina, ONT, PacBio). In addition to other data-intensive workflows (metabolomics, proteomics, high-content imaging, protein-folding) and publicly available datasets (TCGA, CCLE, GTex, UKBB), our platform has been purpose-built to overlay advanced AI/ML techniques on these data, including deep learning, generative AI, structure-based learning models, and NLP, among others.

CD: We’re thrilled to Watershed back as an exhibitor at RESI JPM San Francisco! What would you like our RESI attendees to know about Watershed

MK: We are excited to join RESI JPM San Francisco as first-time attendees! We want to meet as many of you as possible, so swing by our booth to check out our platform and enter for a chance to win 1 free month of Watershed’s Cloud Data Lab (details available at the conference). See you there!


Vessl Prosthetics at RESI

1 Dec

By Rikki Piccirillo, Marketing Manager, LSN

RikkiCo-Founders, Sydney Robinson and Oleksiy Zaika of Vessl Prosthetics joined us at RESI Boston in September. With an understanding of the value of building relationships early in their fundraising journey, attending RESI made perfect sense. This team made the most of their time at RESI, researching attending investors, strategizing panel attendance, and capitalizing on every learning and networking opportunity that presented itself. As thorough and prepared as they were for their time at RESI, the same zest can be said for how Vessl Prosthetics came to be. In this interview with Sydney, you can learn more about their company, the product their developing and their strategy at RESI:

Registration is open for RESI JPM San Francisco, January 10 In Person at the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel & January 11-12 online Virtual Partnering.


RESI Returns this Month

1 Sep

By Rory McCann, Director of Marketing & Conference Producer, LSN

After a more-than-two-year hiatus, RESI Boston returns to an in-person format September 21-22 at the Westin Copley Place Hotel with an additional day for virtual partnering, September 23. In a recent conversation with Life Science Nation CEO, Dennis Ford, we discussed how RESI has evolved over the past few years, and also the features that make RESI unique and consistently powerful in early-stage life science and healthcare partnering, regardless of event format. We also discussed some new faces at RESI Boston and how we are celebrating our return to RESI’s hometown of Boston, MA. Check out our interview below and sign up to start booking meetings today!


Building a Recession-Proof Company

25 Aug

By Rory McCann, Director of Marketing & Conference Producer, LSN

Fundraising in 2022 looks different than it has over the past decade in life science and healthcare. Navid Alipour, JD/MBA, is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Analytics Ventures and CEO of CureMetrix and CureMatch. We spoke recently about how local governments and organizations can set up startups to successfully navigate an economic downturn while fundraising. We also discuss, from an investor- and founder-perspective, how entrepreneurs can build and maintain a “recession-proof” team and fundraising process. Listen to our conversation and register for the upcoming RESI Boston partnering event, September 21-23.


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