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Canvassing Globally, Keep Your Options Open – Preclinical Funding Can Morph to a Licensing Deal

23 Feb

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

LSN’s Research team casts a very broad net when seeking life science investors. We speak with investors of many different types, including family offices, venture capital firms, major corporations and their VC arms, and venture philanthropy investors; we also look all over the world for investors who are interested in early stage life science deals.

From working with a very diverse crowd of investors and hearing the experiences of LSN’s clients in winning allocations from those investors, we’ve consistently found that it pays to keep your mind open about how to get your asset funded. We’ve noted before that you can’t prescribe reality when raising a round; while you might have an ideal scenario for who you’re going to get a check from and when, many of our clients have been surprised to discover who their company is truly a fit for, and timeframes also often go awry.

The reality is that many, many entrepreneurs will be pitching to the top 20 US VC funds; family offices that invest early are similarly inundated with startup pitches. In addition to these players, there are hundreds of other active investors in your space that it doesn’t make sense to ignore. Many LSN clients have received allocations from investors who were not previously on their radar.

One often overlooked pool of capital is the Asia region, where there are many venture investment firms, family offices and corporations that are looking to the US as a source of breakthrough healthcare technologies. Flexibility is a key element when engaging in dialogue with investors from Asia. Over the past few years, an increasing number of Chinese pharmaceutical corporations have set up US subsidiaries in biotech hubs such as Boston, the Bay Area, and New Jersey. Some of these outposts work strictly on their own R&D programs, while others serve as scouts for new technologies that are not expected to adhere to their core business. In many cases, a talk with the parent corporation might be delegated to its subsidiary leading to a R&D collaboration deal, for example. On the other hand, a talk with the subsidiary can be escalated to the parent corporation for potential joint venture, distribution agreement, or buyout.

It is critical to stay flexible as the negotiation unfolds. Establish a trusted channel of communication through multiple interactions. Try to understand the other party’s decision process that might go through a different structure and at a different pace.

With any strategic investor, it’s important to be open about your goals for the relationship. Many early stage therapeutic companies are largely virtual, with the company primarily centered on one asset, or a platform. In many cases a licensing deal or acquisition might be the most attractive transaction for investors; in some cases an equity stake will be attached to a licensing agreement. In addition to the big pharma corporations themselves, some firms work with certain venture funds or virtual pharma development firms; in these cases, the investment might come from a third party but could be attached to an option for the pharma to buy the asset in the future, once it’s de-risked. So while some entrepreneurs can see themselves developing their asset all the way to market and building a company with a deep pipeline around it, there are other possible outcomes that may be simpler and equally rewarding.

Keeping your mind open to a full range of options is vital when raising capital. It’s important to be flexible on your positioning too, so that you’re equally able to pitch the opportunity in scientific terms and on a business level. It’s also important to be a good listener and to pick up on what kind of pitch, and outcome, an investor is looking for. When you’re heading out on the road, best to set down your preconceptions on who’s out there.

Video: The RESI Conference Series

23 Feb

By James Huang, Research Analyst, LSN


The Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) Conference presents many great opportunities for life science entrepreneurs looking for investors. RESI offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to engage in 1-on-1 meetings – up to 16 scheduled 1-on-1’s in a day and many additional ad-hoc meetings!

Life Science Nation (LSN) isn’t just RESI though. This video provides an overview of how RESI fits together with LSN’s two other services, the LSN Investor Platform and LSN Company Platform, and also with Boston Innovation Capital (BIC), a registered broker dealer who is a wholly owned subsidiary of LSN.

Come learn about how attending RESI and utilizing our other services can help you find the investors you’re looking for in the video below! Also, be sure to register for RESI on MaRS for a chance to experience how RESI can help you make the connections you need to get the investment you need.


Consumer Health in the Spotlight at RESI on MaRS

23 Feb

By Cole Bunn, Senior Research Analyst, LSN


As we move closer to the second holding of the RESI conference in Toronto at the MaRs Discovery District, we are delighted to make our first panel announcement: Consumer Health Investors.

Desire for greater autonomy in healthcare management/decision-making and healthy lifestyle trends coupled with advances in technology has created investor interest in health solutions that are provided directly to consumers, including the new consumer subsector of digital health. This panel will focus on these investors who are backing technologies that aim to empower consumers to take charge of their health. Given the region’s concentration of these types of startups, Toronto is a fantastic venue for this session exploring the unique opportunities and challenges in this emerging space.

The session will feature the following:

By registering for RESI on MaRS, you’ll be able to listen to the Consumer Health panel live in person, interact with the investors and experience numerous opportunities to expand your network in the life sciences.

Caveat Emptor When Signing Up for Family Office Conferences

16 Feb

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

If you’re the CEO of an early stage life science company, you’re most likely attending a lot of events in order to find investors and strategic partners. Due to the long term capital needs in this sector, there’s a particularly high interest in family office conferences as a potential source of funding. However, from LSN staff attending many of these events and also hearing from LSN clients we’ve discovered that many of these events are not always as advertised. Buyer beware when checking out an event. Watch out for the following warning signs:

Flood of Consultants. Seeing a lot of names of advisory or consulting firms in the attendee list of a conference you are looking to attend is an obvious red flag. The main point of partnering conferences for early-stage companies is to connect with as many relevant investors as possible. Pitching to firms that do not directly allocate capital is not an efficient use of anyone’s time.

Not Life Science Investors. Let’s say that there’s a good number of real investors at a particular event. How many of them invest mainly in life sciences companies? We see events that claim to help early-stage life science companies acquire capital, only to notice that many investors are not even in the life sciences sector. Unfortunately, this phenomenon happens quite frequently when events are organized by groups that lack the life sciences expertise.

Lack of Focus on Private Venture Financing. Another aspect that these events often fall short on is their lack of focus on private investors. Most early stage companies are launched by private investment. Meeting public focused investors can be a nonstarter.

Lack of a Global Outlook:

  • Conferences dedicated to a local regional focus can be fine, but having both regional and global players is exponentially better. Look for conferences that encourage a global perspective. Especially with the emerging investor market in Asia, a global outlook presents additional opportunities.

Topic Focus:

  • Look for conferences that are dedicated to fundraising and networking. A general life science conference will have too many speakers and topics that just aren’t relevant to raising capital. Instead, look for conferences that seek to help you make the connections and provide the fundraising opportunities that you need.

Networking Time and Partnering Opportunities:

  • Some events claim to be networking and partnership conferences, yet they fail to set aside more than an hour for dedicated networking and partnering. If you’re looking to network at these events, make sure there’s actually enough time set aside for networking to occur.
  • LSN has been involved with both single and multi-family offices for five years, and our staff have been to many “Family Office Conferences”. Mostly what you will find is a lot of service providers and financial consultants. Typically family offices prefer to stay off the radar screen. They are easily inundated with requests and ideas. Instead, they prefer to find one firm they like and trust and then stick with that firm for their deal sourcing needs – and it’s typically not a “Family Office Conference” provider.

LSN works with 250 family offices, about a third of whom are actively investing in life science and have provided us with an investment mandate. A subset of these family offices ask LSN to filter and funnel companies that meet their criteria directly to the family office. We draw upon these relationships to present our Family Office panels at RESI. To achieve this, LSN has had to learn the family office marketplace in depth. It’s a slippery path, because everyone thinks it’s a good idea to target a family office for capital for their idea du jour, which makes the family offices go further off the radar as they can get easily inundated. Family Offices are in the mix when it comes to early stage investments and so are the other 9 categories of investors. To find an investor that’s fit for your stage of development and product or service, you’ll need to seek out conferences that provide actual investors and dynamic partnering.


Fundraising Bootcamp Video: A Must-Watch for CEOs Contemplating Raising Capital

16 Feb

By Nono Hu, Director of Marketing, LSN

At the 12th Annual Non-Dilutive Funding Summit on January 11th, Dennis Ford gave a Fundraising Bootcamp presentation for early stage life science CEOs.  We’re now delighted to make this presentation available online.  Covering topics from branding and messaging for your company to positioning yourself to raise capital, the Fundraising Bootcamp is invaluable to CEOs seeking financing to move their technologies forward in the development process.

Discounted Rates for Hotel and Travel at RESI on MaRS

16 Feb

By Natasha Eldridge, RESI Conference Manager, LSN

natasha-wp-newThe 2017 RESI on MaRS conference is proud to be partnering with hotels and airlines to offer attendees exclusive discounts during their stay in Toronto.

Porter Airlines and Air Canada are both offering discounts on flights to Toronto for flights scheduled from April 1 – 8, 2017. The Fairmount Royal York Hotel is also offering discounts from April 3 – 5, 2017. Additional hotel partners include Sheraton Centre Toronto and Chelsea Hotel.

Included are the promo codes and links to our RESI on MaRS partners and we look forward to seeing you in Toronto.

hotelFairmont Royal York
Address: 100 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5J 1E3, Canada
Phone: +1 416-368-2511
Rate for RESI on MaRS Attendees (Apr. 3 – Apr. 5)

Book Now


Sheraton Centre Toronto
Address: 123 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2M9, Canada
Phone: +1 416-361-1000

Book Now


Chelsea Hotel
Address: 33 Gerrard St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1Z4, Canada
Phone: +1 416-595-1975

Book Now


porterPorter Airlines is proud to offer a 10% discount on available base fares (with the exception of the lowest class fare during a public seat sale) for travel to and from the MaRS Health Investors Conference. Please book online here or through your travel agent using promo code MARS17. The discounted fares are available for booking from December 22, 2016 to April 8, 2017 and available for travel:


Location: Dates of Travel:
From: Anywhere in Canada or US To: Toronto From: April 1, 2017 To: April 5, 2017
From: Toronto To: Anywhere in Canada or US From: April 4, 2017 To: April 8, 2017

Book Now


Air Canada is pleased to offer 15% off of flex fares for the RESI on MaRS Conference in Toronto. Discounts apply 7 days pre & post conference, simply go to and add the code VDKVFRG1 in the promotion box and the discounts will calculate automatically.

Book Now

RESI on MaRS: Full Agenda Announced

9 Feb

By Michael Quigley, VP of Market Research, LSN


As RESI prepares for its second landing on MaRS on April 4th, the team at Life Science Nation is proud to announce the RESI investor panel agenda. With three tracks of panel and workshop content, RESI will feature a wealth of speakers representing all categories of life science investors, from family offices to VCs and angels to big pharma. These panels are a must-see for any fundraising entrepreneur in the sector.

New to Toronto this year LSN will be bringing our latest and highly popular Asia-North America Panel Track, featuring 15 speakers representing Asia based firms seeking to invest in and/or acquire North American life science companies. Entrepreneurs can hear from real investors who are  driving the increase in transpacific investments. See if your technology fits their mandate!

We are excited to be bringing these diverse investor groups into the flourishing innovation hub of Toronto and granting them a unique look into Canada’s innovative healthcare scene. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to confirm speakers and announce panels.