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Global Perspectives on Early-Stage Investment and Partnering

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Novateur & Accel-Rx are bringing six biotech investors and partnering executives to Vancouver

Global Perspectives on Early-Stage Investment and Partnering

Join us for a discussion with a powerhouse panel on the following topics—

·      Hot trends in investing and partnering abroad

·      Demystifying Chinese Venture Capital

·      Partnering with Big Pharma – when and how to pitch and what to expect; typical deal terms

Visiting Panel Members Include:


Asish K. Xavier, Vice President, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC

Alex Szidon, Head, West Coast Innovation Hub and Associate VP Business Development – Licensing, Merck

Wenkai Vincent Xiang from Hillhouse Capital, formerly with Wuxi Ventures

Forest (Tianhong) Xu, Partner, Virtus Inspire Ventures

Thomas Michael Thestrup, Associate Director, Global Business Development at UCB Pharma

Arthur Tinkelenberg, Executive Director, Torreya Capital

Date & Time:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

3pm – 4pm     Networking

4pm – 6pm     Presentations

Light refreshments will be served



The Floral Hall Pavillion

VanDusen Botanical Garden

5251 Oak St

Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1

Featured Panelists’ Profiles:

Asish K. Xavier, PhD, MBA

Vice President, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc.

Asish is based in the Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Center in South San Francisco, CA. Asish focuses on venture investments in biotechnology and diagnostics. Asish joined JJDC in 2004, and has led or co-led investments in over 20 biotech, diagnostics and medtech companies.

Asish previously worked in business development at BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corporation (King of Prussia, PA) which was acquired by Pfizer in 2007. While at BioRexis, he assisted the company in raising a $30 million round of financing. Asish has worked in business development at Structural GenomiX, Inc. (San Diego, CA), acquired by Eli Lilly in 2008; and, was a project leader at Message Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Malvern, PA).

Asish received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston and a MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors.  He received a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India.  Asish was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins University.

Alex Szidon, PhD

Head, West Coast Innovation Hub and Associate VP Business Development – Licensing, Merck Research Laboratories

Alex Szidon currently leads West Coast Business Development & Licensing for Merck (Merck is known as MSD outside of US and Canada). In that role, Alex and his team have augmented Merck’s pipeline of medicines via collaborations with innovative companies developing new modalities for anti-infective therapy, technologies to better understand patient response to treatment and protein engineering platforms to increase precision of therapy. Prior to joining Merck, Alex led an Alliances group at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Cambridge, MA and Emeryville, CA after initially supporting asset transactions for the New Indication Discovery Unit and technology platform transactions for the Translational Sciences group. Alex came to Pharma with experience in biotech and enterprise creation via the founding of Zafgen (NSDQ:ZFGN), an early employee in DARA Biosciences (NSDQ:DARA) and with experience in technology transfer as a Director of Business Development in the Office of Technology Development at the Harvard Medical School. Alex obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry and cell biology from UCSF and early business training as an associate consultant within L.E.K.’s Life Sciences practice in Boston.

Wenkai Vincent Xiang, PhD, MBA

Hillhouse Capital

Dr. Vincent Xiang was previously Partner 6Dimensions Capital, a merger of Frontline BioVentures and WuXi ventures. Prior to that he served as Managing Director of Burrill-Fosun Fund at Burrill Venture Capital. Dr. Xiang is a Founding Member at BayHelix Group. Prior to this, he served as a Portfolio Manager and Research Analyst at Franklin Advisers, Inc. Dr. Xiang served as a Vice President Portfolio Manager and Analyst at Franklin Templeton Investment Funds – Biotechnology Discovery Fund, Franklin Templeton Funds – Franklin Biotechnology Fund, and Franklin Strategic Series – Biotechnology Discovery Fund. He joined Franklin Templeton Investments in 2004. Dr. Xiang specializes in research analysis of the biotechnology industry, focusing on oncology and cardiovascular companies. Prior to this, he served as a Vice President of Business Development at Genyous Life Sciences, Inc. Dr. Xiang has previously worked on deal sourcing, due diligence and strategic planning at BioAdvance as an Associate, as a Senior Analyst and Director for a life sciences hedge fund at Acacia Research Corporation, and has performed research on AIDS and immunological diseases as an Irvington Research Fellow at Skirball Institute of Molecular Biology. Dr. Xiang has worked in the life sciences sector for more than 20 years. He began his career at Shanghai Biological Product Corporation in China. He was an Irvington Fellow at Skirball Center and licensed his patented technology to Millennium Pharmaceutical for royalty payments. Dr. Xiang received a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in four years with honors from SUNY at Stony Brook. He obtained a M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He graduated from Fudan University in China with a B.S. in Immunology and Microbiology from Fudan University in China.

Forest (Tianhong) Xu MD, PhD

Partner, Virtus Inspire Ventures

Dr. Tianhong Xu is a partner of Virtus Inspire Ventures. Dr. Xu’s life science experience spanned over 15 years as venture capitalist, UN officer, entrepreneur, research and clinical doctor. He focuses on investments in the medical device, biotech and healthcare service space. He was a Partner at WI Group and Vangoo Capital, responsible for medtech investment. Previously, he was a Medical Industry Expert for United Nations-Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), where he directed the upgradation of medical industrial clusters in China through investment promotion, technology transfer, and management consulting. He was co-founders of two genediagnosis and personalized medicine companies. Prior to that, he was a clinical doctor at Renji Hospital in China. He earned his PhD in Molecular and Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and MD from Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Thomas Michael Thestrup, PhD

Associate Director, Global Business Development at UCB

As Associate Director in Global Business Development at UCB Pharma in Brussels, Thomas focuses on in- and out-licensing of therapeutic assets, scouting for new opportunities (neurology and immunology) and private equity investments. He was previously at Sunstone Capital (Sunstone Life Science Ventures), a Danish Venture Capital fund based in Copenhagen, investing in Life Science Technologies (drug development, medtech and diagnostics). He joined Sunstone in 2015 from the Innovation Centre Denmark in Munich, where he worked as a Life Science consultant focusing on helping Danish biotechnology, pharma and MedTech start-ups and SME’s in the German and Swiss markets.

Arthur Tinkelenberg, PhD

Executive Director, Torreya

Arthur Tinkelenberg, an Executive Director at Torreya, has 20 years of experience that spans venture capital, corporate finance, basic research, product development, and business development. Before joining Torreya in 2016, he served as CEO and President of Enumeral Biomedical, an immuno-oncology company that he co-founded in collaboration with MIT and Harvard and brought public in 2014 through a reverse merger and PIPE. Earlier, Arthur was a Partner at Ascent Biomedical Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in early-stage life science companies. He is also an inventor and author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, and has conducted research in lipid biochemistry at Columbia University. Arthur earned a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from The Rockefeller University, where he studied cell growth regulation and signal transduction as a Rockefeller and National Science Foundation Fellow. He holds a B.A. in biology, with honors, from Grinnell College.