News ItemIn the Know: July 2018

July 17, 2018 – 

In the Know – July 2018

 
I’ll begin this month’s newsletter with a major announcement: NMBio has entered into a collaborative arrangement with TechLink, which creates high-value partnerships between the Department of Defense (DoD) and industry to develop, transfer and transition licensing and technologies. Its focus in medical and biotechnology research/inventions includes preventable and therapeutic vaccine treatments, antibodies, diagnostic tests, wound care products and health related software:  https://techlinkcenter.org/technologies-category/medical-biotechnology/
 
TechLink’s primary activity is marketing new inventions from Department of Defense labs and — at no cost  facilitating license agreements for these inventions, according to Yvonne Rudman, who will serve as our primary contact to the organization —  rudman@montana.edu
 
TechLink helps companies to:
  • Evaluate DoD inventions
  • Develop high-quality license applications and commercialization plans
  • Partner with DoD labs for joint technology research facilities
  • Gain access to world-class DoD research facilities
  • Compete more effectively for DoD SBIR/STTR funding for new technology development
  • Provides economic impact studies of DoD technology transfer and SBIR agreements
  • Organizes innovation discovery workshops to generate more and better patents from DoD labs
 
TechLink’s “Defense TechLink” program is DoD’s primary national partnership for technology transfer. DoD – the largest research entity in the world — has approximately 120 labs and research facilities nationwide, involving the Air Force, Army, Navy, and specialized agencies such as the National Security Agency. Defense TechLink has facilitated partnerships with most of these centers, linking them with private industry for technology licensing, transfer, and joint R&D.
 
TechLink assists companies ranging in size from one-person startups to Global 100 corporations. Most have fewer than 100 employees. Through TechLink, companies and startups can access over 5,000 new DoD inventions, greatly leverage their R&D investments, and more successfully develop and commercialize new technologies. TechLink can also facilitate CRADAs for joint-research with the DoD. 
 
TechLink Tech Managers assist companies to assess the above technologies and others posted to its searchable database — https://techlinkcenter.org/technologies/  making sure the technology matches the company’s purpose.  If the company wants to proceed with licensing, the Tech Manager walks the company through exclusive, non-exclusive or in some cases Express licensing options. Its aim is to assist associations in making their member companies more successful through commercializing innovative technologies (NMBio is the first of BIO’s 48 state affiliates to be selected as a partner). 

Going forward, I expect TechLink will be a valuable resource for NMBio members and the association in its role as a catalyst for growing the bioscience industry in New Mexico.
 

NMBio Launches Resource Center

 
In order to survive and thrive in today’s competitive landscape, start-ups, and small firms definitely need to have access to cutting edge information and superior business resources. For many small businesses, a major obstacle to success is a lack of expertise or staff to handle accounting, payroll, human resources, marketing, data management, legal issues, taxes, and many other important tasks.
As the founder, CEO or key executive of your firm, you need to protect yourself and your business while getting reliable and helpful advice from non-profit organizations, government agencies, quality firms, and consultants at reasonable prices. NMBio will assist you by researching, identifying and presenting this vital information in its newest section — the Resource Center. It’s now posted to the website — https://www.nmbio.org/resource-center/#fed-gov. This section will grow  rapidly and change continuously. We’ll be adding new sections and be posting white papers and webinars in the not-to-distant future. Please forward material to me that you believe will enhance the informational offerings of the Resource Center.

Because life science companies are truly focused on their research and product development, management advisors highly recommend that business owners/managers access other firms and resources outside their principal line of work to assist in areas where they do not have the expertise or time. Now that we have a cluster of more than 100 bioscience companies in the association, we are ready to recruit firms from the business community that can serve your needs. We will help these Strategic Partners market their products and services to you. In the majority of cases, they will provide you with discounts in addition to exceptional service.  They will complement the services currently provided by BIO Business Solutions preferred providers — UPS, Office Depot, VWR, and many others — https://bbs.bio.org/programs 

If you have companies that you would like to recommend as Strategic Partners, please forward your suggestions to me ASAP. We’ll add the Strategic Partner section to the website in August.
 

Investment Crowdfunding Tips

 
More than 50 individuals from the New Mexico Technology Council, FatPipe, ABQid and NMBio recently attended an event that we organized on investment crowdfunding. Our featured speaker was Karl Dakin from Denver, Co. A national speaker and author, Karl played a key role in the passage of the Colorado Crowdfunding Act and adoption of associated regulations. Since 2015, he has been engaged in the launch of Invest Local Colorado, a registered ‘intermediary’ and provider of online platform listing services. 

Since almost all the attendees requested Karl to send them his slide presentation as well as other materials on how to raise capital, I’ve asked Karl to share his materials with NMBio members that couldn’t attend. Documents on investment crowdfunding are available for digital download from his Karl’s Box.comaccount: https://app.box.com/s/wfezeb53rmya1khls1jmc85a418rakis
 
  1. Investment Crowdfunding – Slide deck of presentation
  2. Crowdfunding Common Questions and Answers – New Mexico – an overview of crowdfunding terms, options, and participants at the New Mexico state level and at the federal level
  3. Space Port Pub Crowdfunding Workbook – a guide to planning an investment crowdfunding campaign
  4. Investor Profiling Workbook – a guide to identification of those people most inclined to make an investment
  5. Brewing Investors Guild – a flyer on membership in a fandom for the craft brewing industry
  6. Capital is Everywhere – a slide deck of a briefing on raising money that is often a starter in development of a capital strategy
  7. Dakin Capital Guild Services – a flyer on services that he provides
 
“Raising money, or other forms of capital, for startups is a difficult task, but one that can be simplified through better strategy and storytelling to the top investor candidates,” he said.  If Karl can be of any assistance in a capital campaign, an economic development project or an educational program, you can contact him at Dakin Capital Guild LLC. His email address is: KDakin@DakinCapital.com


2018 BIO Convention Successes and Plans for 2019


I’m pleased to report that the NM Pavilion we organized for the BIO International Convention in Boston last month successfully showcased the following bioscience companies: Agilvax, Sandia Biotech, Pebble Labs, Vista Therapeutics, Versatile MED Analytics as well as NM Tech, Sandoval  Economic Alliance, and, of course, NMBio. Four of the firms that participated applied for and were approved for grants administered by the NM Economic Development Department’s Office of International Trade. The grants helped them get reimbursed for their registration fees as well as for most of their expenses related to their participation in the exhibit booth. We also distributed marketing materials on behalf of the New Mexico Partnership, Santa Fe Business Incubator, NM’s Economic Development Department, the Arrowhead Center, NMBio strategic partners, DMVG and Likarda and STC-UNM. 

Boston-based Vanderweil Engineers saved us a great deal of money when it lent us its 10’ by 10’ display booth. Kudos to Bill Vanderweil, a former high school classmate, for arranging this loan. And, as it turns out, nationally respected Vanderweil Engineers does have contracts in NM, including at least one with UNM. Nationally, it has designed and constructed more than 1 million square feet of lab space for major academic institutions and pharmaceutical firms. We also want to extend kudos and a thanks to the NM Partnership’s Tim Nitti for donating a 10’ by 10’ display booth to NMBio for its future use.

This year’s four day event attracted more than 18,000 attendees from 74 countries. It also broke the Guinness World Record for one-on-one partnering meetings between attendees (the business equivalent of speed dating). Next year’s event will be held in early June in Philadelphia. We are already making plans for the event and anticipate the state and several regional and city economic development organizations collaborating with us based on the rapid growth of our industry and the well-paying jobs it is creating from Las Cruces to Los Alamos.

In fact, I’ll soon be releasing details of a national study on the bioscience sector issued by BIO as well as a survey of NM firms that we conducted in conjunction wth BIO (the target date for the release is mid-July and yes, the news is very good at the local as well as at the national level).



 

Pfizer to Expand Venture Investing with $600 Million Commitment to Pfizer Ventures


Pfizer Inc. has announced plans to invest $600 million in biotechnology and other emerging growth companies through Pfizer Ventures, the company’s venture investment vehicle.  In addition to increased funding, Pfizer will extend its leadership as a venture capital investor with an expanded team that leverages expertise across venture capital investing, business development, drug discovery and clinical development.

“By expanding Pfizer’s venture capital efforts under Pfizer Ventures, we hope to extend both the breadth and depth of Pfizer’s support for the development of cutting-edge science from concept to products,” said Barbara Dalton, Ph.D., Vice President, Pfizer Worldwide Business Development and Senior Managing Partner of Pfizer Ventures. “Building on our existing investments and proven track-record, we will look to identify and invest in emerging companies that are advancing compounds and technologies with the hope of delivering life-changing therapies to patients in need.”

Neuroscience Investment Strategy

Pfizer Ventures will seek to invest approximately 25% of its available capital ($150 million) in promising early stage neuroscience companies. By leveraging an equity investment model, Pfizer can support a broad array of early neuroscience research and product development opportunities, which are critical in this nascent area of science.  

“By changing the way we invest in neuroscience, we hope to support an energized community of biotech entrepreneurs who are progressing the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of neurologic diseases and help advance potential treatments for people with neurological conditions,” said Denis Patrick, Ph.D., Vice President,  Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development and Managing Partner of Pfizer Ventures.
Initial areas of interest for Pfizer Ventures include neuro-degeneration, neuro-inflammation and neuro-metabolic disorders, and other areas where rapidly advancing science could lead to breakthroughs for patients.

Six of Pfizer Ventures’ current portfolio company investments focus on breakthrough neuroscience, including Aquinnah, Autifony, Cortexyme, MindImmune, MISSION, and Neuronetics.  In addition, Pfizer was instrumental in the creation, funding and launch of the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) in 2015. DDF is a specialist venture capital fund that invests in novel science to create meaningful new medicines for dementia.  Since its launch in October 2015, DDF has raised more than $190 million and has made significant progress building an initial portfolio of 12 investments in dementia drug discovery companies and projects. These investments target promising areas of neuroscience research such as microglial biology and inflammation, mitochondrial dynamics, trafficking and membrane biology and synaptic physiology and function.

Beyond neuroscience, Pfizer Ventures will continue to invest across a broad range of therapeutic areas of interest to Pfizer such as oncology, inflammation and immunology, rare disease, internal medicine and vaccines.  Companies developing technologies that have the potential to transform drug discovery, development and manufacturing will also be considered. 

Pfizer Ventures Team and Portfolio

Pfizer is also significantly expanding the Pfizer Ventures team. The new organization consolidates R&D Innovate, Pfizer’s R&D equity investment vehicle, with Pfizer Venture Investments, the Company’s long-standing venture investment group. The expanded team adds R&D expertise with a focus on neuroscience chemistry and pharmacology. With world-class expertise in drug discovery and clinical development, Pfizer Ventures expects to continue to generate strong returns for Pfizer while providing portfolio companies with the direction and support needed to accelerate advancement of critical therapies. 
Details regarding the Pfizer Ventures team and investment portfolio can be viewed at www.pfizerventures.com.

 

Looking to Israel for Investment, Collaboration or Product Sales?


Thanks to an invitation and introduction from Ed Herrera, Director of the NM Economic Development Department’s International Trade Office, I recently had the opportunity to meet with Seth Vogelman, who represents the department’s Middle East office. Based in Jerusalem, Seth says Israel’s innovative bioscience cluster Is expanding rapidly. Firms are seeking collaborative partners in the US. Venture capitalists are interested in investing with companies that have secured FDA approvals and have products or services that can be marketed to Israeli firms and residents. He said Israel is extremely interested in companies catering to the cannabis industry. 

Seth also contributes to the comprehensive and well written Fortnightly, an economic newsletter covering business news throughout the Middle East. The Fortnightlynewsletter is a free service of Atid, EDI. “We are a team of economic and trade development consultants, headquartered in Jerusalem, but active throughout the region and beyond,” said Seth. “EDI works with an international clientele interested in identifying and researching business opportunities in the region.  We also serve as the regional representative offices for a number of US states, including NM, and bilateral Chambers of Commerce, as well as European clients.” You can contact Seth directly at:  seth.vogelman@atid-edi.com

EDI’s other services include development of feasibility studies and tailored research reports, as well as identification of potential joint ventures for commercial clients.  For more information on how Atid EDI may better assist you, please visit its website at: http://atid-edi.com

Seth also passed along the following information on the BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and DevelopmentFoundation – http://www.birdf.com . It works to encourage cooperation between Israeli and American companies in the various areas of technology, and provides free assistance in locating strategic partners from both countries for developing joint products.

The BIRD Foundation supports projects without receiving any rights in the participating companies or in the project itself.  The financial assistance is repaid as royalties from sales. The Foundation provides support of up to 50% of a project’s budget, beginning with R&D and ending with the initial stages of sales and marketing. The Foundation shares the risk and does not demand that the investment be repaid if the project fails to reach the sales stage. The BIRD Foundation works in full cooperation with the Chief Scientist’s Office at the Ministry of Economy in Israel, and with the US Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

 

Freewheeling Biopharma Investment from China

Chinese Investors have doubled down on the US Biotech startup scene. They have already funneled $5.1 billion into biopharma stateside, up from $4 billion over all of 2017. This has largely gone unnoticed by US Regulators, according to the  FINANCIAL TIMES

The FT leaves that point hanging — insinuating that, in the midst of a trade war, the Trump administration has yet to scrutinize these investments. In fact, it recently  softened its restrictions on Chinese investments, suggesting the flow of Chinese funds into US biotech will likely continue unchecked.
 

Revolution Launches Job Board


Steve Case’s venture capital firm Revolution recently launched a job board to highlight the many great startup opportunities throughout the country. The Revolution job board uses a platform called Monday, based out of Boulder, which aggregates open positions for all of Revolution’s over 125 investments around the country, including Albuquerque. 

“The Revolution careers page lists jobs available in 105 cities across the country. Over 80% of the more than 1,000 jobs posted today are outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston,”  said Case, chairman and CEO of Revolution. “And that makes sense. We founded Revolution over a decade ago with the philosophy that great companies can start and scale anywhere.”

Best wishes,

Greg

Greg Byrnes
Executive Director
610-731-3671
 
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