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Funding for startup is key topic at Kauffman Life Science Ventures Summit

Posted by: Kauffman Foundation on April 03, 2012 Source: MedCityNews.com

Finding funding is one of the greatest challenges for an early-stage life science entrepreneur. That’s why industry experts and successful entrepreneurs have been recruited to address it as one of the key topics at the Kauffman Life Science Ventures Summit, hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation on June 22 and 23, 2012.

The Foundation recently announced a call for applications for the inaugural Summit, scheduled at the Mission Bay Conference Center at the University of California-San Francisco. During the Summit, industry experts will provide practical guidance on commercializing innovations in each of four sectors: medical device, therapeutics, diagnostics and digital health. Speakers and panelists representing each industry sector will share lessons, advice and insights. Dominique Pahud, director, advancing innovation at the Kauffman Foundation, said the event’s agenda was created based on feedback from life science entrepreneurs who identified the most critical needs for starting a company.

New funding models will be discussed, and separate sessions will be held to look at funding for each of these specific areas: therapeutics, diagnostics, digital health and medical devices. Panels will discuss the different funding options and their associated tradeoffs, how to choose the best funding option and what mistakes to avoid in the process.

As experienced entrepreneurs know, securing funding isn’t just about having an innovative product and a good elevator pitch. Certain segments of the industry may be more appealing to different funding entities. Last year, for example, more angel investment dollars went toward startups in healthcare than startups in any other industry. But within healthcare, 60 percent of those angel investments went to medical devices and equipment. Venture capitalists, on the other hand, are more inclined to look toward technology-related health companies, with more than 60 percent of venture capitalists poised to increase their investments in health IT.

Where does that leave startups developing powerful, life-saving pharmaceuticals? Since venture capitalists and angel investors are growing more hesitant to invest, partnerships and licensing deals with other companies may be a more appropriate option. And how about digital health startups? Lower start-up costs may make them more appropriate candidates to bootstrap or look for small loans from governments and institutions. They may also make good candidates for one of the many accelerators and incubators for life science companies – but is it worth giving up some equity to participate in those programs?

Experienced investors, entrepreneurs and consultants will answer these questions and offer their advice on finding and securing the right investors during panels and presentations at the Life Science Ventures Summit. Speakers include Allan May, co-founder of Life Science Angels, Halle Tecco, founder of digital health incubator Rock Health, and Simon Greenwood, the director of Roche Venture Fund.

Up to 200 life science entrepreneurs across the four industry sectors will be selected to attend the Summit. Applicants will be accepted based on two factors: (1) how much they will benefit from the experience based on where they are in their early-stage entrepreneurial journey, and (2) the commercial viability of their plan.

The application and more information can be found at www.kauffman.org/lifescienceapp. The deadline is April 9, 2012. Selected applicants will be advised by April 20, and registration will open April 23. The registration fee is $100 before May 11, 2012, and $125 after that date.

The Kauffman Life Science Ventures Summit is sponsored by the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (qb3), Stanford BioDesign, Rock Health and MIT’s H@cking Medicine.

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