Rockin’ BIO: News, facts and lots of lessons
Last month, I traveled down to Boston for the 2012 BIO International Convention. While there, I met dozens of fellow Canadians who represented companies seeking international partnerships.
While I don’t have a product to scale, per se, my colleagues and I were there with a clear eye to opening new markets for MaRS clients.
Synching our efforts with the business interests of the industry is significant: we strive to ensure that we’re providing the resources and opportunities that entrepreneurs need to reach bigger markets.
To that end, we met with several parties who are interested in coming to MaRS to meet our clients or to partner with us on our practice initiatives.
Some other takeaways from the convention included:
- Announcement: The announcement of the Québec-Ontario funding competition as a result of the newly minted Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM) partnership with MaRS Innovation, the Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Ontario Brain Institute.
- Facts: Venture capital funding for life sciences companies in the US has increased 30% over last year, as reported by Burrill & Company… but the IPOs and M&As for this sector have been suffering.
- Lessons: Big pharma companies GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Roche and Merck all have very active acquisition/licensing arms, and target early-stage innovations that will diversify their portfolios while also aligning closely with their existing infrastructure. Such companies look for solid data (evidence of efficacy), and are primarily focused on collaborations with academia to access such technology. For startups, this means that lots of strong data and a refined development strategy are needed before initiating talks with pharma partners.
BIO was certainly full of lessons, and I met an astounding number of interesting people working in the life sciences industry around the world.
MaRS client successes
While I’m at it, here’s a bit of a roundup of some other recent (and incredible) successes from MaRS life sciences & healthcare clients:
- Quantum Dental Technologies recently announced that their caries detection system, The Canary System, has been proven to detect secondary tooth decay around restorations and fillings, the only system that can do so.
- Fluorinov Pharma has won $1.5 million in funding over three years from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) to support the continued development of a novel drug to treat blood cancers such as multiple myeloma and some forms of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Have a great summer!