February, 2016 - Issue #1

Welcome to the first edition of Invest in Biotech an “e-magazine”, published online by TTS Ltd. Invest in Biotech will have a core focus on the challenges around the early stage biotechnology sector: startups, tech transfer operations and the business development thereof that is so critically sought on the road to commercialisation.

Change (as one of our authors discusses) is inevitable. Biotechnology has seen something of a renaissance since end of 2012 / beginning of 2013: more IPOs, more PE VC raised etc. But what specifically sparked this revival? To pick a single reason for this is tricky to say the least but with the intention of being thought-provoking I will endeavour to briefly do so… I believe that as an industry we have a greater realisation of what is required and a subsequent focus (emphasis?) of patient requirements. Outcome driven healthcare if you will. The work of patient groups themselves and our friends at FasterCures has been a major consideration in changing the landscape since the financial crash of 2007 enabling leaner better-focused programmes to thrive. So has an improved understanding of what defines “excellence”: better science, better process, better management and better finance. I’m sure many remember the common use of the phrase “smart money / dumb money” in the late 90s / early 00s? It’s being heard again after what seems like a 16 year absence. More prudent investment criteria? Of course, there are many more factors, not least the capital markets and industry’s restructuring.

At a time when “Pharma bro” is in the news with a congressional hearing on drug pricing and reimbursement, perhaps it would be prudent to find a positive to take from what appears to be, to this observer at least, reprehensible theatre. Surely, if anything it highlights that the need for greater transparency and understanding within this industry (and for the public) is perhaps greater than ever?

To that end, we will cover opinions, conversations and insights from all stakeholder groups throughout the life science healthcare biotechnology pharma sector: from TTOs and startups per se and their early stage challenges, to PE VC investment, legal challenges and considerations, licensing quandaries… and all the the way through to the buy- and sell-side expertise that is critically important to understand. Even from conception.

Indeed within this first issue Eva Haas discusses the implications of the PE VC industry perhaps being more proactive with the IR PR industries in better championing their portfolio interests. Interestingly we have a conversation with Dan Omstead, CEO and Managing Partner at Hambrecht&Quist LLC, now operating as Tekla Capital Management who currently have in excess of some $3 Billion under management.

Mark Rohrbaugh, ex-Director of the now departed Office of Technology Transfer, NIH and now Special Advisor to the Director of the NIH looks at the issues surrounding diagnostic innovation, whilst Anne Lane, Director at UCLB the publicly listed business venture of University College London talks about the need to be flexible at the early stage and indeed the benefits that can manifest on being so. Kevin Noonan, partner at MBHB and co-founder of the world renowned Patentdocs is in thought-provoking mood entitling his article “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. Would it be pertinent for me to ask of you whether they do?

We welcome comments and submission of articles. If you feel you have something to add, to contribute or merely comment on, please do contact us. Debate and deliberation is healthy.

Contact the editor – editor@ttsglobalinitiative.com


Dr. Morris Berrie
Dr. Morris S. Berrie is Co-Chairman of TTS Ltd and Managing Director of Tech Investor Ltd. The former is an organization that globally facilitates deal flow in TTO / the early stage start-up / SME biotech sector whilst the latter specifically aids and advises Govs and companies throughout the biotech sector on ‘the business of science’, i.e. business development, strategy, licensing and capital raising. Prior to these roles he was both the Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of the Biotechnology Investment Group and during this period he worked with prestigious clients. Dr. Berrie was also previously Head of Strategy at the Nature Publishing Group.

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