Making your innovation our business.
Commercialization Capacity Increased in 2012!
In January, the WBBA announced the promotion of Christiana DelloRusso to Director of Commercialization, and welcomed Drew McUsic to the team as Commercialization Associate. In this role, Drew will support the Commercialization team to assist early-stage innovators as they seek to raise capital to develop and launch biomedical products. Prior to officially joining the WBBA staff, Drew covered WBBA events for its Event Archives and as an opinion writer for Xconomy. Drew completed his PhD in the University of Washington's Bioengineering program in December 2011. Drew is also Project Manager for WINGS. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.456.9571.
These staff changes to magnify the WBBA’s Commercialization efforts signify the success the program has enjoyed to date and its promise for growing operations in 2012 and beyond.
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Patent Legislation and Satellite Office Update
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos made a stop in Seattle on Friday, March 12. The WBBA was invited to join the conversation, which took place at the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization. During the meeting- jammed with patent attorneys, city officials and local business leaders- UW President Michael Young and Vice Provost Linden Rhoads made not-so-subtle references to Seattle’s bid to become a site for a regional satellite patent office, an effort which has been chronicled here and here. The WBBA is helping with the effort, and wrote a letter of support to buoy the official comment submitted by the city. Mr. Kappos referred to the process of selecting locations for the satellite offices, remarking that it will be a data-driven decision that will leave 52 regions less than pleased with him (there have been 54 bids). The first satellite office will open this summer in Detroit; a decision on the next office is expected sometime this fall.
Aside from speculation about satellite patent offices, Mr. Kappos commented on the progress he and his team have made in implementing the provisions outlined in the America Invents Act, reducing the backlog of patent applications (down to 650,000 from 770,000), and reducing the average time it takes for Track One patent processing (currently 111 days). He also mentioned getting his team more external-facing via public roadshows, and the Office’s need for scientists and experts to serve as lecturers to keep patent examiners up to date as part of the Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP). Finally, Mr. Kappos discussed the Pro Bono Pilot initiative to fulfill his goal of “no inventor left behind” due to the inability to pay legal and filing fees associated with patents.
Mr. Kappos and members of his team plan to be back in Seattle in the late summer/early fall of this year for a roadshow. More commentary on his recent visit can be found here.
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VENTURE INVESTORS & STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
In 2011, the WBBA’s Venture Investment and Partnering (VIP) Forum was an important vehicle for more than 45 WBBA-member companies and research groups to gain meaningful face time with corporate venture groups and multi-national strategic partners. During VIP Forums, venture investors and multi-national strategic partners (VIPs) travel to Seattle to participate in two events. First, the VIP gives an overview seminar during a networking session and reception open to the life science community. Second, the VIP participates in a customized, day-long schedule of 1:1 meetings with the region’s most promising life science companies, entrepreneurs, researchers and emerging companies, who are pre-selected during an application process. In 2011, the WBBA hosted five VIP Forums with BioWa Inc., Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Office of Science & Technology (COSAT), Takeda Ventures, Merck’s Global Health Innovation Group, and Bayer Healthcare.
The first VIP Forum of 2012 featured Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) on January 12-13. Over 100 attendes enjoyed the open plenary session at ZymoGenetics, where Martin Birkhofer, VP of Search, Evaluation and Diligence at BMS, shared the company’s partrtnering interests. Joining Dr. Birkhofer were members of his team that had traveled from their home bases on the East Coast to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, and then to Seattle for the VIP forum: Dr. Kevin Heller, Global Lead, Oncology; Dr. Moneesh Chatterjee, Global Lead, Virology; and Graham Brazier, VP and Head of Transactions. The next day at WBBA, ten 1:1 meetings were held between pre-selected companies and the visiting executives from the BMS. The WBBA would like to thank John Volpone, Regional (West Coast) Lead for Search, Evaluation and Diligence at BMS, who is based in Seattle and was instrumental in helping us coordinate the VIP Forum with his colleagues.
Leaders from H.I.G. BioVentures traveled from Miami to Seattle for the next VIP Forum on March 7-8. The open plenary session was held once again at ZymoGenetics, where Aaron Davidson, Managing Director at H.I.G. BioVentures presented the group’s investment interests and strategy. H.I. G. invests in a broad spectrum of life science companies, including those developing therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics. H.I.G. VCs prefer to meet with companies and begin developing relationships with management teams early- sometimes two to three years prior to investing. The BioVentures group recently closed on $200M of a new $250M fund, and expects to invest in 12-15 companies with those assets. Locally, WBBA member companies Alder Biopharmaceuticals and OncoGeneX are portfolio companies of H.I.G. BioVentures. After his talk, Mr. Davidson and his colleague Michael Wasserman, also a Managing Director at H.I.G., mingled with attendees during the reception. Flanking the plenary talk and reception, on March 7th and 8th, H.I.G. met with a total of 13 WBBA-member companies in 1:1 meetings to consider new investment opportunities.
MedImmune Ventures, a wholly-owned VC fund within the AstraZeneca Group, as well as business development executives from AstraZeneca will visit from Gaithersburg, MD for the next VIP Forum on May 23-24, 2012. The deadline to submit applications for a 1:1 meeting with MedImmune Ventures/AztraZeneca is May 4th- stay tuned for the call for applications!
2012 VIP Forums are generously supported by Cooley LLP and the Life Sciences Discovery Fund. If your organization is interested in sponsoring the VIP Forum, information can be found in the WBBA’s 2012 Sponsorship Prospectus.
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WINGS, The Washington Medical Technology Angel Network, is a joint initiative of WBBA and the medical technology community. WINGS’s mission is to close the gap in early stage funding to accelerate the translation of medical technology innovation from the lab bench to patients. Since the inception of WINGS, 23 companies have been selected to present at eight Investor Meetings from 101 deals screened. To date, WINGS Angels are responsible for $3.3M of investment in seven Washington companies. WINGS held its first Investor Meeting of 2012 on February 15th with company presentations from dBMEDx, REDpoint International, Valant Medical Solutions, and Viket Medical Corp., as well as a company update from Aseptica.
The WINGS network is looking forward to its next meeting on May 15th. Emerging medical technology companies are encouraged to apply to present. To be considered for the next round of screening, applications are due on April 10, 2012 for the May investor meeting. For more information on how to apply to present, to become a WINGS investor or to sponsor WINGS, visit www.medtechwings.com or email email@example.com.
WINGS thanks the generous support of its sponsors: WBBA, Perkins Coie, WRF Capital, University of Washington Center for Commercialization, Silicon Valley Bank, SonoSite, Stratos, Varitrex, Philips and Physio-Control.
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Pro Bono Consulting
The Commercialization Team’s focus remains on access to capital and formalized investor relations both inside and outside of the state. The team is available to offer guidance and coaching to WBBA member organizations. You can schedule a meeting with them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2011, the Commercialization Team provided consulting services to 61 new emerging life science companies, entrepreneurs and organizations. To date, the program has supported more than 100 life science groups as they sought commercialization advice, prepared to pitch to investors and developed business plans.
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