Go Luke! Luke Timmerman Is Hiking to the Top of Mt. Everest for Cancer Research

When I found out Luke Timmerman is raising funds for cancer research by hiking the tallest mountain in the world, admittedly I was both excited and jealous! I met Luke Timmerman when he gave an ever-engaging talk at a biotechnology investment conference in Toronto a few years ago and I have been subscribing to his newsletter, Timmerman Report, since. He is one of the most respected biotech journalists who has been writing — and in some cases predicting — many key trends and challenges about our space. We draw a lot of parallels to Luke’s journey at Novateur. As some may have noticed, since inception we have had the picture of Mount Everest on our website and believe every life science projects is similar to hiking the Everest for the first time. No matter how fit you are and how many mountains you have climbed, you need the experienced Sherpas to guide you to the top. Novateur provides the Sherpas to you to successfully complete your Everest life science journey.     Between March 27 and June 2, 2018, Luke will take on the most challenging task of hiking to the top of Mount Everest. As part of his challenge, he is raising funds for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. For those of you who may not know, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center in Seattle is the home of one of the leading clinical trial sites in the United States as well as the birthplace of several breakthrough cancer biotechs including Juno Therapeutics, Adaptive Biotechnologies, Rosetta InPharmatics (acquired by Merck) and Immunex (acquired by Amgen).     As part...

Off to a Fabulous Start for 2018

Attending both JP Morgan Conference in January and BIO CEO & Investor Conference in February confirmed several key points:   2018 will see more licensing deals and M&As With the new Trump tax regime there will be significant repatriation of cash by large pharma and biotechs to United States. There is an estimated $250B cash parked off shore by large pharma and biotech companies. This week several major pharmas announced billions of dollars in share buy back. We predict that there will be more licensing and M&A activity by large pharma and biotechs in 2018.   2018 will see more financing & IPOs Several of our clients have been able to raise financing in 2018 in both private and public settings. The general market sentiment, although sometimes choppy, seems positive. We encourage our clients to raise money when they can. It’s a good time now.   Pharma will start coming back to look at large target areas and traditional blockbusters We believe with the repatriation of cash, large pharma and biotechs appetite for larger and somewhat neglected target areas like cardiovascular, women and men’s health and CNS will grow. There will be return to larger trials to develop blockbuster drugs again.   FDA is more industry friendly than before We find FDA to be more open and flexible than ever before. According to a PWC report, there were fewer regulations announced by FDA in 2017. It is predicted that this trend will continue. This trend will encourage biotech and pharma companies to invest more and conduct more trials. We believe there will be more drugs and devices approved this...

Winding Down 2017 With Tremendous Gratitude

As we approach the end of 2017, we look back with tremendous gratitude for the many friends and supporters of Novateur, especially for our valued clients, whom we consider our partners. We had a great year and grew our practice in substantial ways in every possible metric. We worked with over 30 companies and investment groups conducting due diligence and providing product and project development advisory. We completed over 120 projects. Our clients raised over $100 M in capital, including one that successfully became public on a US stock exchange. Several companies also completed partnerships with larger pharma clients. We believe Novateur is the solution for the “talent” challenge in Canada and other geographies where there is dearth of seasoned development and execution expertise and lack of a track record. Novateur has a history of attracting world-class advisors. Only the very best join our team and work diligently to solve our client’s issues. Several of these world-class experts have become full time executives at Novateur and have relocated to Canada from the United States. We are pleased to contribute our part to reverse the Canadian “brain-drain”. With over 120 active advisors and over 1,000 global advisors in our network, we can solve any life science problem effectively and efficiently. Novateur is a very active and global group: Our advisors are part of many new start-ups and serve in active executive roles for our clients and partners. Our advisors attended over 200 conferences and seminars throughout the year and were speakers at several. I attended over 20 conferences and spoke at or chaired 6 conferences. Several of us participated in...

Diagnostics: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

On October 26-27, I co-chaired an International Conference on “Companion Diagnostics & Biomarkers” in Porto, Portugal. The presenters included global experts in diagnostics including market leaders such as Unilabs, Agilent, Qiagen, ThermoFisher and Guardant Health. The Conference was initiated by the other Co-chair, Harry Glorikian, the author of Moneyball Medicine who delivered an engaging presentation predicting the future of medicine and digital health. Throughout the two days, impressive and informative presentations described the current status and the predicted future of diagnostics and digital health technology including the anticipated tsunami of future changes. I initiated the second day of the conference with an overview of the past, present and future of diagnostics, encompassing the best (and worst) examples of companion diagnostics (“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”). Click here to request the presentation. Presentation by Ali Ardakani, Managing Director of Novateur Ventures: “Can Companion Diagnostics Be a Guide to Cure? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” – BioTech Pharma Summit 2017: Companion Diagnostics & Biomarkers October 26-27, 2017 — Porto, Portugal Ali Ardakani, Managing Director of Novateur, chairing the final plenary session of the BioTech Pharma Summit 2017: Companion Diagnostics & Biomarkers October 26-27, 2017 — Porto, Portugal Here are some summarized highlights from the conference: Diagnostics will be playing an ever-encompassing role in therapeutics development and commercialization. Both EMEA and FDA are encouraging more “targeted therapeutics” with companion diagnostics. Digital Health and digital diagnostics will represent a tremendous new growth sector and will become an integral part of our health care system. Embracing this market dynamics sooner will lead to better health outcomes and reduced costs. Diagnostics...

More Than Engaging with Government – Let’s Work Together

Vancouver, B.C., November 7, 2017 On November 2, 2017, I had the pleasure and opportunity to represent LifeSciences BC board, together with Nancy Harrison, Chair, Board of Directors, Dr. Lesley Esford, President & CEO, along with other board members, Dr. Pieter Cullis and Scott Phillips. Our visit included breakfast with the NDP caucus and lunch with the Liberal caucus, where Dr. Esford presented an overview of the life sciences sector in B.C. What we shared with government were several impressive and enlightening facts: There are 450 life science companies in B.C. Vancouver is rated as “Best City in the World” to start a new Business by CityUp Index and was rated by as the “#1 Best Startup Ecosystem” by Startup Genome to support entrepreneurs and raise seed rounds in Canada. B.C. is the only province in Canada, to develop and launch several novel products generating billions of dollars in cumulative revenue. Reflecting that B.C.’s life science companies have a track record of taking blockbuster products with historic regularity, from idea to market.A few of these products are: Visudyne® by QLT Taxus® by Agniotech Mozobil® by Anormed Vyxeos®, developed by Celator (recently acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals) and soon to be launched. B.C. is the only province and Vancouver one of the few cities in North America, except Boston and San Francisco, with three companies, Zymeworks, Innovative Targeting Solutions and Abcellera, signing global partnerships with 15 of the world’s largest global pharma companies, worth billions of dollars. In 2017, B.C. had the largest IPO in recent Canadian Biotech History when Zymeworks raised $80M. Several other companies including Aurinia, Arbutus and Aquinox...

Companion Diagnostics: A Guide to Cure?

There is an obsession by biotechs, pharma, investors and payers to pre-select responders to a therapy before they are treated. How did we end up here and how is this going to impact medicine in the long term? In certain diseases where the biology landscape is understood better, like oncology, there has been tremendous impact. However, in most other target areas we still cannot isolate the responders and use “all comers” to try treatments and hope the safety and efficacy of a drug can be shown to be statistically significant. What happens to target areas where specific responders cannot be identified? What happens to companies that have an effective treatment but cannot get funding because they cannot find their “targeted population”? By “targeted” we mean a sub-population that expresses a specific genetic mutation or biomarker. At Novateur we are often approached by creative scientists that have discovered a biomarker diagnostic or in some cases can analyze hundreds of your markers to show that you may potentially have various disorders. Would the doctors be interested to tell you that you may have early Alzheimer’s when there is no treatment available for it? And would the payers pay for it? In our experience, diagnostics will have a challenging time getting funded and partnered, unless they can be paired with an effective therapeutic. The ultimate goal is to be able to utilize the diagnostic to change the clinical outcome in a meaningful way. In a similar fashion, biotech companies developing treatments need to think how to incorporate potential diagnostics to pre-select responders. After decades of experience at large pharma, our advisors believe...