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

The Excitement, the Dismay and Everything In-Between: JPM2019 week

January 15th, 2019|Blog, Happenings|

Another JPM week rolls around and in comes the rainy weather to SF.  It’s getting to be quite a pattern. Each year I look forward to it and dread it.  It’s a week of seeing colleagues, meeting lots of new people, and learning about new start-ups in the healthcare/life sciences space.  And yet at the end of going from event to event, fitting in coffee meetings and hoping to sneak in some real work, I am exhausted. So now that I have had a few recovery days, here’s how the week seemed to me. Excitement Progress is always exciting.  Seeing companies that I first met a few years ago, now growing and bringing new projects and products forward always generates energy.  Also excitement-generating is the progression in therapies, starting with small molecules, then biologics and now cell-based therapies.  Additionally, new modes like digital therapies have entered the space. Some of [...]

Game on – Here we are in 2019!

January 2nd, 2019|Blog, Groundworks|

The ball drops and if we are still awake and not watching the actual event in Times Square, but a replay 3 hours later here in San Francisco, it is now 2019. Another year for new challenges, new goals and new plans. I like the clean slate of a new year.  Although it can be daunting to look at a blank screen (or piece of paper if you are of the old school type) and start the list of “to do” items for the year, it can also provide a sense of excitement.  Think of all that can be accomplished in the 12 months to come! What is on the radar for your company?  Would you like to strengthen and enhance your competitive position?  Are you looking towards a new funding round, or perhaps a merger, acquisition or joint venture?  Do you have new project ideas that you’d like to [...]

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 [...]

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