Official launch of Biotech Connection Singapore & OneStart Europe
The Entrepreneurs’ Rule Book
Oliver Worsley reports on Biotech Connection debut event in October 2014.
Coinciding with the official launch of Biotech Connection Singapore, October 1st 2014 saw the first event rolled out - the Entrepreneur’s Rule Book. A lively, informative and very much interactive discussion between two highly successful life science entrepreneurs, Prof. Steven Myint and A/Prof. Tan Sze Wee.
Prof. Steven Myint is one of Biotech Connection Singapore’s SAB members. He has a background of clinical training, capitalizing on spin-offs straight out of university. He now sits on multiple global boards in the life sciences industry and is ever-engaged in mentoring great minds with similar ambitions.
A/Prof. Tan Sze Wee has an equally remarkable background, having also trained as a clinical Doctor before turning to the commercial end of healthcare. He is currently the Deputy Executive Director of A*STAR Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) amongst other reputable positions.
The engaging event took place at Biopolis and this is what they had to say…
Prof. Myint started the conversation with defining the correct definition of an entrepreneur, that it is much more than a “person who sets up a business(es), taking on financial risk in the hope of profit”, according to the generic definition, but rather it is multilayered. Being passionate about novel ideas, having the drive to succeed whilst showing resilience in the face of failure, were just a handful of the characteristics a successful entrepreneur may possess.
A/Prof. Tan placed emphasis on the social aspect of entrepreneurship which was seconded by Prof. Myint. He advised the aspiring entrepreneurs in the audience not to be afraid of getting out there and potentially meet their next co-founder or engineer. He also warned against relying solely on cyber-networking in building one’s network base. The echo of this idea resonated from the very structures of the building we were in; indeed it would appear apt that we should listen to such advice in Biopolis where the science community is warming to the business world.
Prof. Myint conjectured it was essential to understand the industry and the differentiation between multinational companies (MNCs) and small-medium enterprise (SMEs). Interestingly, they both worked for MNCs before harnessing their experience and bringing them to their respective SMEs, they agreed it was necessary to do this, rather than starting in an SME, as MNCs will provide the invaluable foundations and the whole-picture.
A “silver mentor” was recommended by Prof. Myint as an absolute must. In other words, a wizened figurehead who less the straight-up advice will be someone for you to bounce your ideas off of, and will be critical of your ideas rather than plainly agreeing with them.
Both duly accepted that having a successful idea was only half of it, and in fact the exit strategy may prove equally important. In the context of raising funds, these are the kinds of questions that investors will ask, “what is your exit strategy” and “what is your plan B and plan C”. Moreover, it was advised that planning for series B funding is required from the offset and once the rounds of seed funding, referred to by A/Prof. Tan as the ‘honeymoon period’, dries up - past successes will be jeopardized if the investment strategy wasn’t etched out from the start.
Much was learned from this momentous meeting and invaluable pieces of advice were generously handed out by two of Asia’s leading biotech entrepreneurs. The connection between the speakers and the audience was electric and you could see the creativity buzzing around many as they watched on with eager eyes – a great debut for Biotech Connection Singapore and continued growth of biotech enterprise in Singapore.
6:30 – 7:00 PM
7:00 – 7:15 PM
7:15 – 7:45 PM
7:45 – 8:30 PM
8:30 – 9:30 PM
Biotech Connection Launch
OneStart Europe Launch
"The Entrepreneur’s Rule Book" discussion
Networking & Refreshments
Prof Steven Myint MD PhD is one of our SAB members. He is a physician with global experience in health and biomedical management. He is currently a Senior fellow to A*STAR, and consultant to its commercialization arm, ETPL. He is also Adjunct Professor at Duke-NUS in the Center for Technology, Enterprise and Development. In these capacities he is involved in the commercialization of biomedical and bio-engineering research. He is also Chairman of Inex Private Ltd (Singapore), Chairman of Plexpress Oy and Inc (Finland), non-executive director of Aplagon Oy and Primex Oy (Finland) and non-executive director of Lipid Genomics (Boston). He was a founding partner of Ukko Partners, a Finnish Vigo accelerator, and a partner in Pharma Capital, the Palo Alto based venture fund. Until recently he was also executive chairman of Green Signal Bio, which he developed into one of India’s largest vaccine manufacturers. Since starting his first spinout in 2005, he has been involved in the development of over 30 SME’s in life sciences and created over $1billion value for shareholders.
Assoc Prof Tan Sze Wee MBBS MBA is currently the Deputy Executive Director of Biomedical Research Council, A*STAR, the Programme Director of A*STAR’s Healthcare and Lifestyle Programme Office and Chairman of the Singapore Stanford Biodesign steering committee. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore and the Honarary Treasurer of the Singapore Medical Association (SMA). A/Prof Tan has over 15 years of experience in the local and regional healthcare and medical device industry. He was formerly the Asia-Pacific Associate Regional Medical Director for Mead Johnson Nutritionals, a divisional of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company from 1997 to 2001 and also served as the MD and CEO of Rockeby Biomed Limited, a Singapore-based healthcare company.