At any recent life sciences gathering, there is a constant debate about the future of the venture capital model. Since 2000, the number of venture capital firms has halved and the amount of money available to VC firms to invest has also decreased significantly. For six Irish life sciences companies the 2013 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference provided an opportunity to grab the attention of potential investors, senior industry executives and key opinion leaders.
From a venture capital and business development perspective, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco is arguably the most important event of the entire year for the health care sector.
In fact, the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference has had such a large impact on the life sciences community that a number of supplementary conferences aimed specifically at early stage technology companies now take place in conjunction with the main conference. While issues and trends in the US healthcare system, med tech and biopharma industries are discussed at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference – life sciences entrepreneurs such as Jerry O’Brien of Cork-based point-of-care diagnostic Radisens pitch their offerings and solutions to potential investors and partners at conferences like OneMedForum.
Genesis VMI – an Irish software company with an inventory management solution for the operating room environment – recognize that coming to the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference is not just about attending seminars. Managing Director of Genesis VMI, Noel O’Hanlon commented that “it is really about the opportunity to meet with potential healthcare investors and potential technology partners from around the world – all in San Francisco for one week”.
This year, with six Irish life sciences companies ascending on San Francisco for this increasingly popular event, Enterprise Ireland organized a reception with some key opinion leaders, investors and deal-makers. Among the attendees, were Tom Loarie (Chairman of Mercator and also a member of Enterprise Ireland’s Medical Device Advisory Council – a group of experts in the US medical device industry that have an interest in helping Irish medical device companies succeed in the US), Nola Masterson (Managing Director of Science Futures – a life sciences investment firm), Randall Lashinski (CEO of Claret Medical – a catheter medical device company that has worked with a number of Irish companies), John MacMahon (COO of Maya Medical – a medical device company owned by Covidien and currently working with a number of Irish companies), Laurence McGrath (Executive Director US Healthcare Analyst at JP Morgan) and Bruce Jenett (Co-Chair of the Global Life Sciences Sector of, DLA Piper).
Other Irish life sciences companies in attendance included point-of-care diagnostic company, Biosensia; medical device company, Neuravi; drug discovery company, Sigmoid Pharma; and novel platform technology company, TriMod Therapeutics.