Thinking Aloud- 3 reflection points from Biotech and Money 2018
It’s no secret that the health of the biotechnology market gives a key insight into the buoyancy of the wider healthcare and pharmaceutical sector. With ever growing registrations of university spinouts and MedTech companies across the UK and wider EU there is no shortage of innovation and expertise, a positive indicator for the industry going forward. The Biotech and Money Congress brings together the Innovators and the bank rollers all in one room with the goal of bridging the gap between concept and impact. Entrust had the privilege of attending the event and meeting a lot of ladies and gents from both the VC and Biotech side giving us a great insight into the challenges faced at the pivotal start- up phase of a Biotech, I have listed my 3 main learning points from the insight we were afforded at the event.
1. Appetite for Biotech
The event housed the full scope investors from global VCs to Angel and Seed Phase players with all with the aim of finding the next major innovation. From our conversations with a lot of investors the appetite for European Biotech investment is prevalent and steadily increasing with the number of spin outs and start-ups compiled by the success of previous ventures. As a specialist recruiter working in the Biotech space, seeing the willingness of investors to back Biotech’s from both a capital and advisory perspective was extremely positive to hear and a cause for optimism going forward.
2. The rising MedTech wave
One of the major themes throughout the event centred around the rise of MedTech and its applications in preventative medicine. This won’t come as a surprise to most with the growing interest in MedTech investment in recent years, but the sheer abundance of conversations around the potential future applications of MedTech throughout a range of therapeutic areas was very interesting. Particularly in the UK, the has been a shift in recent years toward preventive medicine to reduce the strain on the NHS, this need has been heeded by the market and resulted in a sharp uptake in companies looking to address these issues, and investors looking to fund the effort.
3. The ‘T’ Word
I wouldn’t be much of a recruiter if I didn’t address the talent side of things, would I? The ‘T’ conversation was, as always, a common theme for us in all our meetings throughout the congress, and from person to person, company to company and Investor to Investor the conversation was very similar. In short, Investors want to be assured that the capital they put up is in capable, experienced hands. While seed phase biotechs want to ensure that once spun from an academic institution or proof of concept phase, that they have someone at the helm who can navigate the choppy waters of the commercial world outside of the incubator. The underlying need is the same from all sides, this is a crucial phase where the wrong appointment could result in a loss of funding which could prove critical for innovation and ultimately the business. The key to success during this phase is to not only make an appointment based on experience (though this plays a major part) but also passion for the technology and a belief in its applications with the ability to relay this message where required. The right fit at this stage of the process is vital as it will define the culture and ultimate success of the company going forward. To finish I will borrow a quote from Shaun Chilton (CEO Clinigen Group) during the event ‘If you are an executive and can’t tell an engrossing story of your company in five minutes, you are in the wrong job’.
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