Tag Archives: biotech

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”.


Hot Investor Mandate 3: USA VC Firm Seeks to Invest in All Sectors of Life Sciences, with Focus on Companies Outside of Major Biotech Hubs

3 May

A venture capital firm based in Texas is focused on early and growth-stage biotech and medical device companies. The group is currently raising their second fund and is actively evaluating deals. Initial investments typically are in the $3M-$5M range and are usually in the form of straight equity, but may use convertible notes in select situations. The firm looks to take meaningful stake in portfolio companies and play an active role in their development. The firm is open to companies based in the U.S., with a specific interest in companies located outside of the major biotech hubs of Boston and San Francisco.

The firm is most interested in the biotech/therapeutics space and will consider medtech companies on a secondary basis. The firm does not invest in diagnostic or healthcare IT companies. The firm is mostly opportunistic in terms of technology type and indication area, however the group prioritizes companies with products addressing unmet medical need and unique mechanisms of action. For early-stage companies, the firm targets companies who have at least had a pre-IND meeting with the FDA and invest in companies ranging from pre-clinical to Ph. II clinical trials.

The firm has no strict company or management team requirements, but does look to be a very active investor and always requires a board seat along with an investment.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email mandates@lifesciencenation.com.

Hot Investor Mandate 1: Subsidiary of Large USA and China-Based Biotech Seeks Investment and In-Licensing Opportunities in Cell & Gene Therapies, Invests Up to $10M

19 Apr

An emerging company with China headquarters is focusing on the development of the best-in-class immunotherapy technology for cancer cure. Teamed up with outstanding immunologists and molecular biologists, the firm has generated a strong pipeline of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) product candidates to treat a wide variety of liquid and solid tumors. The firm is a subsidiary company of another established public biotech company with offices in USA and China. The firm is actively seeking investment, partnering and licensing opportunities to expand the pipeline of therapeutics and offerings. Typical allocations are $1-10 M.

The firm’s sectors of focus are cell and gene therapies, cell engineering, processing and manufacturing technologies and tools.

The firm may seek a board seat depending upon size of investment. They are open to working with all stages of management teams. The firm can either lead or co-invest.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email mandates@lifesciencenation.com.

Hot Investor Mandate 4: USA and China-Based Biotech Company Seeks to Invest in Life Science Companies, with Focus on Cell/Gene Therapies, Antibodies, Synthetic Biology, etc.

5 Apr

A public biotech company with headquarters in USA and China is actively seeking for investment, partnering and acquisition opportunities to expand the company’s business in multiple areas. The firm usually invests as a strategic investor in as early as seed rounds. Typical allocations are $1-5 M.

The firm’s sectors of focus are cell and gene therapies, antibody therapeutics, life science tools, drug discovery technologies, synthetic biology technologies and industrial enzyme products.

The firm may seek a board seat depending upon size of investment. The firm is open to working with all stages of management teams and may lead or co-invest.

If you are interested in more information about this investor and other investors tracked by LSN, please email mandates@lifesciencenation.com.

New CFDA Regulations Already Showing Benefits for China’s Biotech Innovation

1 Mar

By James Huang, Research Analyst, LSN

james-wpWithin the last few months, China has been formally rolling out their new CFDA regulations that have given startups and new technology developers in China all sorts of benefits. These benefits include allowing the submission of data from clinical trial sites outside of China, allowing more Chinese hospitals to run trials, and allowing drug makers who are waiting for the green light on a safety study to go ahead if they haven’t heard back from the CFDA within 60 days.

All these regulation changes have seen a big boom to China’s biotech innovations. In fact, many Taiwanese companies have seen this regulatory shift as an opportunity to get into the Chinese market. Companies such as Taiwan Liposome (TLC) have started joint ventures with Chinese investors in order to run trials and commercialize their products in China. With the ability to submit their clinical trial data from Taiwan and start their new trials more quickly in China, many of these companies expect to see NDA filings for their assets by the end of the year.

Another highlight of this new regulatory system is that CRISPR human trials have already started within Chinese hospitals. CRISPR in the US, on the other hand, has yet to receive any approval or the go ahead for such trials. Some describe this discrepancy as being the result of China’s lack of regulations. However, that is not necessarily the case. China’s new regulations are geared towards pushing new innovative technologies into trials and out onto market as quickly as possible and has the benefit of being a newly reformed system. In contrast, the US FDA is a much older system using regulations that have been built upon for years, resulting in a much slower and more meticulous process.

Therefore, it might be an advantageous for startups to consider working with Chinese investors through joint ventures. The benefits of having an accelerated clinical trial process with reduced trial costs may be worth the pain of forming a joint venture with a qualified Chinese partner. Of course, while the process of finding a qualified Chinese partner and working with them may be tedious on its own, it definitely should not be immediately discounted. Given how the times are changing, a global outlook towards potential partners and opportunities is becoming more and more necessary in order to succeed.

Biotech Family Offices Discuss Direct Investment at RESI Boston

24 Aug

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

RESI Partnering is now open, providing attendees with the opportunity to book one on one meetings with investors.  If you log in to Partnering, you will see a wide variety of investors available to reach out to, including venture capital firms, big pharma, angels – and family offices.

RESI Boston’s Biotech Family Office sesssion features family office investors from around the world who are making direct investments into early stage drug development companies.  These firms have a variety of strategies, interests and motivations.  If you’d like to know how family office investors think about early stage drugs and what kind of technology catches their eye, this is the panel for you.

Moderated by Colin Widen (CEO, Boston Innovation Capital), the panelists are:

  • Christine Bunt (Venture Partner, 20/20 HealthCare Partners)
  • Pini Orbach (Head of Pharma, Arkin Bioventures)
  • Alex Pickett (Principal, Mediqventures)
  • Jayson Rieger (SVP of Business Development & Portfolio Management, PBM Capital)

We’ve extended the RESI discounted registration until Friday, so if you want to hear from these Biotech Family Offices now is the time to get registered.

Family Offices Converge on RESI to Meet Early Stage Biotech and Medtech Startups

8 Jun

By Lucy Parkinson, Director of Research, LSN

RESI is a venue where early stage life science startups can meet with investors of every type that are a fit for their company’s technology and stage – and that includes family offices. RESI San Diego features two panels devoted to this elusive investor class – Biotech Family Offices and Medtech Family Offices. Whether you’re developing a novel therapeutic, an innovative device or an improved diagnostic solution, Family Offices can’t be overlooked as a potential source of capital and RESI will provide you with the opportunity to hear advice and insight directly from key investment decision makers from family offices.

Biotech Family Offices, moderated by Colin Widen (CEO, Boston Innovation Capital), features:

Medtech Family Offices, moderated by Michael Quigley (VP of Market Research, Life Science Nation), features:

To catch this rare opportunity to meet family office investors with a focus on early stage life science investment, register for RESI now.

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