Blog 2020-06-29T21:47:51+00:00

The Start-up Scene:  Investing in Tools and Platforms

December 17th, 2018|Blog, Happenings|

  I’ve been to a number of panel discussions with biotech investors.  Although much of the advice is similar, some bears repeating.  Also, this particular panel focused on early stage investing in biotech startups in the tools and platform space.  Some insights are more directed to these areas. First, an overview of the panel that spoke at the event “Key Insights into Building a Successful Life Science Tools Company” hosted at WSGR’s SOMA office. Moderator Shubhra Jain – Senior associate Cota Capital Nola Masterson- Lead investor for Portfolia FemTech Fund Faran Nouri – Managing Director Lam Capital Shahram Seyedin-Noor – General Partner Civilization Ventures Shaun Holt – CFO, Berkeley Lights Next, let’s go to the observations that were more tailored for biotech tools companies. Platform + product A tools-focused company often starts with a platform technology such as a new technique for sorting and assaying single cells, a method for [...]

Potholes and Landmines

December 9th, 2018|Blog, Groundworks|

It is not unusual for me to hear a startup inquire about a freedom-to-operate (FTO) search.  Often, the requesting company is in its nascent stages.   I don’t discourage the idea of keeping a good view of the competition and path to market.  However, it is often too early for what I would consider a true FTO analysis. Why? FTO implies that the product or service that will be launched to the market be free of third party IP issues, that it will not infringe issued patents.  But to do such an analysis requires that the product or service be fully developed, so that all its constituent parts can be analyzed, as well as the whole. For instance, if the product is an antibody treatment, FTO analysis will include the antibody (and any potential sequence and post-translational modifications), methods of producing it, formulation, method of administration and indications to be treated.  [...]

Short Days Long Thoughts

November 29th, 2018|Blog, Musings|

Almost December.  It’s less than a month’s time until the winter solstice. I can look at this in two ways.  Either the days are getting shorter and darker with each passing one, or it’s only a short time until each day will begin to grow longer and brighter. Some years the increased darkness bothers me.  Last year I came up with the festival of lights.  Each week was a different color of strings of lights to brighten the house in the evening.  Some coincided with holiday colors, other choices were mood-driven. Short days, however, can bring benefits too.  They mark the transition towards a new year.  With that transition comes thoughts about the future, the long term view.  Thoughts about the past also abound.  It’s a time for reflection in both directions. What did I do with this year? What worked and what did not? What did I learn, particularly [...]

Connecting the Dots for Written Description

November 19th, 2018|Blog, Groundworks|

Your first patent application – you try to think of all of the possible variations, all the possible diseases that could be diagnosed or treated, all the potential doses, all the potential chemical or protein variants.  But will these lists provide sufficient support for the patent claims you seek in years to come? It might depend on what data you have for support, how the application characterizes all of these possibilities, and which country ‘s patent office is the overseer. A recent case of between Forward Pharma and Biogen illustrates some of the difficulties in crafting claims to capture the competition.  It is particularly difficult when the competition doesn’t appear until years later.  Forward’s original filing was a 2004 application, that matured into a PCT, and then spawned national phase applications.  For the US application, Forward filed claim amendments in 2013, seeking to copy claims from a Biogen application and thereby [...]

A Common Passion – a Shout-out to Startups

November 12th, 2018|Blog, Happenings|

Last week was 3 consecutive days of pitches, 3 different settings, 3 different audiences.  I heard a lot of great ideas in a wide variety of styles.  Some were more sales-focused, some more data-focused.  Some founders were nervous, others strode out with confidence.  The diversity was astounding:  Ideas included fish food, virtual reality treatment for stroke, cancer treatments, medical devices and research libraries.  There was also a wide diversity in founders giving the pitches, women, men, a mix of ethnicities, races, backgrounds, and countries of origin. Uniting them all together was the excitement and passion with which they spoke about their ideas, their progress and their future. Here’s a taste of what I heard: Filtricine:  Finishing up its residency at IndieBio, Filtricine premises its cancer treatment on the hypothesis that cancer cells can be differentially killed by their need for an exogenous supply of specific nutrients that healthy cells make [...]

Demo Day Dilemmas

November 5th, 2018|Blog, Groundworks, Happenings|

I am looking forward to Indie Bio’s demo day this week.  I work with a number of the companies there.  The excitement and the tension has mounted as the big day approaches.  This is the day each company will have a short public presentation about its technology in front of a fairly large audience.  I have a similar event on my calendar for the UC Davis Venture Catalyst program in January. Some of the worry leading up to the event, whether explicitly recognized or not, is the dilemma about what to present and how the presentation could impact the company’s potential patent protection.  I was reminded of this dilemma by a very informative webinar put on this week by JA Kemp & Associates.  I particularly liked the presentation because it brought a European viewpoint to the topic; valuable because how public presentations impact IP rights varies by country. Let’s get [...]

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