2015 CABA Biomedical Investment & Entrepreneurship Symposium
Reported by Shujia Dai, CABA
In the morning of Saturday, October 10th, 2015, the Chinese-American BioMedical Association (CABA) Biomedical Investment & Entrepreneurship Symposium was successfully held at the MIT Tang Center in Cambridge. About 200 attendees were gathered together, including CABA members, students, professionals, entrepreneurs from biotech industry, as well as government agents. A broad range of topics were covered, such as global healthcare investment, biomedical business, inventions and regulations. A new session, Bio Innovation Contest, was feed into this year’s Symposium, and lead to a good discussion in the start-up in biomedical field.
Conference Chair, Jian Shao, first expressed his warm welcome to all attendees from the US and China, followed by a brief introduction of the agenda. He then described “Best time, Best Place, Best People”, i.e. how innovative ideas from the University, Hospital and Industries near the Greater Boston Area bring great business opportunities to the world, especially to the Chinese innovators and entrepreneurs, and also industrial upgrading in China.
The President of CABA, Susan Qu, then stepped on the podium and introduced the CABA organization. She recognized the great efforts of the organizing committee, and success of social media networking group via WeChat. She lastly announced the establishment of second WeChat group, allowing to communicate effectively with more friends, members, and partners, and will continue to offer the excellent services to the communities.
After that, the Vice Consul of Chinese Consulate General in New York, Mr. Kefei Fu, delivered his acknowledgement of the continuous efforts of CABA in connecting biomedical scientists and professionals with the business sector in the US and China, sharing ideas and business opportunities. Mr. Fu concluded his speech by indicating that a better investment environment and great needs in biomedical industrial upgrading in China attract more and more Chinese Innovators to realize their entrepreneur’s dreams.
Session chair Qingqing Cao started the morning session and introduced the keynote speaker, Mr. David-Alexandre Gros, SVP and Chief Business Officer of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Gros reviewed the history of developing a new therapeutic class at Alnylam. His lecture was told along with a well-known story, the Carrot Seed. At the beginning, a boy planted a carrot seed (From a start-up in 2002, the founders of Alnylam started the company based on a novel idea, RNAi technology, which was awarded by the Nobel Prize in 2006). Although been told the seed (RNAi-based therapeutics) “won’t come up”, the boy (Alnylam) “pulled up the weeds around the seed and sprinkled the ground with water” (dedicate to develop and improve RNAi techniques and raise money to support programs). Finally, a giant carrot was harvested (a huge success in new drug class as a leading company in RNAi therapeutics nowadays). Everyone was inspired by Mr. Gros’ passion in life science and the inspiring Alnylam story. His speech was greeted with a round of applause. A great discussion on the emerging trends of RNAi technique was raised during the Q&A time after his talk.
The second talk in the morning session was given by Mr. Xiaojun Liu, CEO of Northlake International LLC. Mr. Liu shared his great experience in how he started a virtual pharmaceutical company and lessons he learn from this lengthy process. As most of innovators and the founder of a start-up company, his company suffered the shortages in supporting R&D, taking risks of potentially unsuccessful targets, long process of negotiation with buyers, and tedious works in preparation of documentations. He ended his talk by some advices, some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.
Echoing to Mr. Liu’s entrepreneur story, Ms. Ellen Zhang, the Partner and CEO of GuanHao Life & Health Incubator Co., Ltd., presented the lecture of “How to make entrepreneurship easier and joyful”. As an incubator company in the healthcare industry, Ms. Zhang said, GuanHao’s mission is to help Chinese innovators establish their start-up biomedical company and gain success by providing seed funding, laboratories, and regulatory services, and so on. She also introduced in detail regarding related policies and advantageous conditions at GuanHao industrial park.
The morning session was then ended by the fourth lecture given by Dr. Chen Chen, from Cooley LLP. Dr. Chen first introduced some fundamental knowledge of patent law and key points of patent registration, time line, structure and constructions, as well as contents in details. He then shared some his experiences and know-how in patent writing.
After a one-hour lunch break, the afternoon session chair, Dr. Youxin Zhang started second Plenary Session. Dr. Milena Adamian, the Founder and Managing Partner of Azimuth Ventures, give the first talk. She queried ‘who is investing healthcare and why’, and then provided an outlook of global healthcare market and analysis. She took US as example, illustrated the rapid development and growth of healthcare market and investment compared to the other sectors of industry. Dr. Adamian then talked about the emerging opportunities and the 3rd wave of digitalization in healthcare industry. After a few case demonstration of investment portfolio and trend analysis of venture funding, she finally concluded her lecture by an Oscar Wilde’s quote, “The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything”, to explain why we love this sector.
Followed Dr. Adamian’s talk, Dr. Zhang introduced the second speaker. Mr. Lixin Xu talked about the recent development of ImproveX Innovation Incubator at Guangzhou, China. Mr. Xu described in detail how ImproveX will help Chinese innovators to transform their ideas to the prototypes, and then laboratory services and seed funding. He finally inspired people from Boston area to go back to China and join the thousands of innovators to make their entrepreneurship dream come to true.
In this year’s program, CABA communities decide to add a brand new session, Bio Innovation Contest. Announced by Dr. Youxin Zhang. Five selected innovation teams gave a brief introduction about their novel ideas and products, team members, market analysis, proposed amount of funds, and so on. The first team CamMed, introduced their newly designed bandage-like patch pump for subcutaneous delivery of one or more medicines (like insulin) precisely. The second one from LaunchPad Medical described their innovation package for a bone adhesive that allow rapid patch broken bones and stimulate regeneration of bone structure afterwards. Third idea was from Perfetch team, who developed a new tracking and visualization of body size changes in a quick and accurate fashion. Then the team from Platelet Light showed their advanced system for platelet regeneration for the cancer patients after chemo-therapy. The last team from Sunus Health presented their potable and drip rate monitoring system, IntelliMonitor. The brilliant ideas, innovative products, and enthusiasm of team members caught attention from audiences. Everyone in the auditorium felt as same extend of nervous as the presenters. Thanks four invited judges with years of experiences from different fields, all teams were given not only critical questions, but also great advices to help their start-up growth smoothly.
A brief break after the tight competition, Mr. Norman Eng, from US Small Business Administration (SBA), introduced the programs and policy that can help local innovators start their own company smoothly in Massachusetts. Many of attendees may not realize so many big brand companies, such as Genzyme, started their business with the support and service of SBA. Many people mentioned they had no idea how the government of the State will help innovators by providing many services to form their ideas, business plans, counsels, and legal advices, and so on.
The final talk of the afternoon Session was given by Dr. Phil Zhang, Co-Founder and Chairman of Milstein Zhang & Wu LLC. Dr. Zhang also serves as one Board Member of CABA. Dr. Zhang explained “Steering clear of criminal liabilities: discussion of intellectual property and criminal laws with entrepreneurs”. Many people came forward to him asking questions about how their products avoid the potential legal issues in the future.
Lastly, the lecture Session was ended with one of the most exciting programs, Mr. Qi Li, representing all four judges, announced the winner of Bio Innovation Contest. Everyone applauded for their excellent jobs and congratulated the winner team from LaunchPad Medical and Platelet Light teams.
In this CABA’s signature one-day event, every attendee enjoyed the excellent lectures; and social networking with old and new friends. Utilizing the WeChat discussion group, the CABA team broadcast the conference alive during the whole day event. WeChat attendees from the US and outside could join the discussion and read messages to understand the brief summary of each talk.
The 2015 CABA Biomedical Investment & Entrepreneurship Symposium was another great successful event. From the real world presentation to the virtual social network, the CABA team was able to communicate with their old and new friends, sharing great ideas and knowledges, and will continue to offer its excellent services to the communities.