Evaluating Life Science Companies for Investment
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Breakthrough Theatrette, Matrix Level 4
30 Biopolis Street, Singapore 138671
Medical devices, biopharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors are growing rapidly, fueled by an influx of smart investment dollars. How do investors assess life science startups before committing to an investment? What are on their checklists for determining risks and returns? In this panel discussion, we bring together experienced investors across the funding landscape, from venture capital and angel investing, to multinational corporations and government organisations. Join us to find out what these investors look for when evaluating life science companies and how you can improve your odds of getting funded.
Following up on the discussion we had at our last event, seasoned investors from venture capital, MNCs, and the public sector delved into the key considerations that drive investment decisions. The discussion was moderated by Dr Snehal Patel, Co-Founder and Director of MyDoc Pte Ltd, and Co-Founder of Galen Growth Asia, with lively participation from the panelists – Dr. Carolyn Ng, Investment Director from Vertex Healthcare Venture Capital; Dr. Stefan Hart, Director of New Ventures from Johnson & Johnson Innovation; Mr. Sridhar Gopal, Business Development and New Product Planning Director from Abbvie, and Mr. Chik Wai Chiew, Executive Vice President of the Commercialization Division from Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (A*STAR).
Kicking off the discussion, the panel shared their views on the sectors and therapeutic areas that have garnered the most investment interest. The panelists noted that immuno-oncology has seen the most investment activity and corporate acquisition interest in recent years. Other potential areas with huge unmet medical needs include cardiovascular, neurology, metabolic disease and orphan diseases. Besides therapeutics, the panelists suggest that there is promise in developing technologies that better support both medical providers and patients by integrating multiple research areas such as bioinformatics, bio-electronics and diagnostics. While most startups tend to focus on novel technologies and therapeutics, Dr. Hart emphasized the importance of building groundbreaking business models with innovative customer delivery channel in order to create value for the technologies and products. With the main players in the healthcare and life science industry (eg. insurance and pharma companies) all located within Singapore, he sees Singapore as an ideal test bed for these innovative business models before global implementation.
When assessing life science companies and technologies for investment, our panel of investors value strong management teams with truly disruptive technologies that fulfill significantly unmet medical need. In addition, the company’s business model should be capital-efficient in order to drive significant value creation from the initial investment. The company should also possess a sound intellectual property (IP) strategy, as a strong IP portfolio sets the foundation for further product development. Notably, Mr. Gopal and Mr. Chik highlighted the importance for researchers to stay open-minded and be receptive to collaborating with industry partners via various mechanisms such as joint ventures, co-development programs or licensing deals to successfully commercialize their research and bring it to market.
Our panelists noted that startup companies tend to be acquired or go IPO at a very early stage in recent years – i.e. clinical Phase I or even preclinical stage. As such, there has been a significant movement amongst venture capital firms to evaluate and invest in companies at even earlier stages. This has the unfortunate outcome of increasing the risks of investments. According to Dr Ng, top-tier journal publications or sound scientific evidence are strong indicators that can help push investors to commit at these early and high-risk stages. Other de-risking strategies include: investing in platform technologies capable of generating different targets in various areas for a potentially broader product portfolio, and syndicating investments with fellow VCs with deep pockets and technical know-how to better validate the company and spread risks. Lastly, Mr. Gopal emphasized that conducting proper due diligence and having a thorough understanding of a potential investment is fundamentally critical.
The discussion came to a close with strong encouragement from the panel for scientist-entrepreneurs to enthusiastically reach out to both industry players and end customers, seek to partner people with complementary business skills, while staying alert about the challenges and potential competition.
The attendees enjoyed food and drinks at the networking session after the panel discussion, generously sponsored by A*StartCentral.[/bs-text][bs-text title=”Program” icon=”” title_link=”” heading_color=”” heading_style=”t7-s1″ bs-show-desktop=”1″ bs-show-tablet=”1″ bs-show-phone=”1″ bs-text-color-scheme=”” custom-css-class=”” custom-id=”” css=””]6.30 – 7.00pm: Registration
7.00 – 7.05pm: Introduction to BCS and A*StartCentral
7.05 – 8.05pm: Speaker Introduction & Panel Discussion
8.05 – 9.00pm: Networking reception with light refreshments[/bs-text][bs-text title=”Moderator” icon=”” title_link=”” heading_color=”” heading_style=”t7-s1″ bs-show-desktop=”1″ bs-show-tablet=”1″ bs-show-phone=”1″ bs-text-color-scheme=”” custom-css-class=”” custom-id=”” css=””]
Snehal Patel, M.D., J.D.
Co-Founder & Director, MyDoc Pte. Ltd.
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Carolyn Ng, Ph.D.
Investment Director, Vertex Healthcare Venture Capital
Stefan Hart, Ph.D.
Director, New Ventures Singapore/SEA/India, Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Chik Wai Chiew, MBA
Executive Vice President, Commercialisation Division, Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd
Business Development & New Product Planning Director, Japan Asia Pacific, AbbVie Inc
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[/bs-text][bs-text title=”Sponsor” icon=”” title_link=”” heading_color=”” heading_style=”t7-s1″ bs-show-desktop=”1″ bs-show-tablet=”1″ bs-show-phone=”1″ bs-text-color-scheme=”” custom-css-class=”” custom-id=”” css=””][/bs-text][bs-text title=”Organiser” icon=”” title_link=”” heading_color=”” heading_style=”t7-s1″ bs-show-desktop=”1″ bs-show-tablet=”1″ bs-show-phone=”1″ bs-text-color-scheme=”” custom-css-class=”” custom-id=”” css=””][/bs-text]
Carolyn holds a PhD in Cancer Molecular Biology from the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Technology, and also holds a BS (Pharmacy) (Honours) degree from the National University of Singapore.[/bs-about]
Previously Stefan worked at Roche as the Manager of Pre-clinical Academic Alliance. In this role, he directed key external collaborations. Prior to that, Stefan was a Senior Scientist at S*BIO Pte Ltd. In this role, Stefan acted as a core member of Pracritinib drug development team. He led the pre-clinical development and successfully implemented the clinical biomarker strategy.
Stefan trained as an engineer in biotechnology at the University for Applied Sciences Weihenstephan (Freising, Germany). He received his Ph.D. research at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, where his work focused on the transactivation of the EGFR by G protein-coupled receptors in human cancer, and resulted in significant publications that led to the MPIB Junior Research Award in 2004. Stefan did his postdoctoral research at the Institute for Medical Biology (IMB), Singapore where he launched the Singapore OncoGenome Project. Stefan is also the author of 25 publications in peer reviewed scientific journals and of 2 patents.[/bs-about]
Prior to assuming his current position at ETPL, Wai Chiew has enjoyed various public and private sector positions including Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), Temasek Holdings and Tembusu Partners. He has extensive global experience in strategic planning; business development; corporate governance; organisational transformation; venture incubation; and investment management. Wai Chiew has also mentored business founders and served on multiple corporate boards across Asia.
Wai Chiew holds a BA (Economics) from Cambridge University; MA (International and Development Economics) from Yale University and EMBA from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. [/bs-about]
Sridhar has successfully closed several varied deals including Acquisitions, licensing’s, co-marketing, co promotions, divestments across markets. Among Sridhar’s experiences, he has led teams pursuing diverse Global Strategic projects like Branded Generics, Biosimilars, and Orphan Drugs.[/bs-about]