Today the BIO Investor Forum opens in San Francisco amid optimism in the biotech sector. Venture investment is outpacing last year; the NASDAQ Biotech Index is up 38 percent since the election; and stocks of small, clinical-stage biotechs – those with no approved products – are up 78 percent.
In 2017, innovation is advancing at a breathtaking pace – with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approving its first-ever CAR-T cell therapy for an untreatable form of cancer. New breakthroughs are adding value for patients and making investment more attractive.
BIO’s annual investor conference, held today and tomorrow at San Francisco’s Westin Hotel, draws investors interested in getting in on the ground floor. Early-stage companies will present their strategic plans and funding needs to almost 300 investors registered to attend the event. Connections, learning opportunities and potential deals are what bring people back to the event, now in its 16th year.
It will be a busy two days with programming beginning each day at 8 a.m. Lunch time will feature fireside chats with industry thought leaders to stimulate discussion and shed light on current trends. The fireside chat on Day One features Kristina Burow, Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners. ARCH looks for ways to create and develop pharmaceutical and ag-biotechnology companies. Burow serves as a director on the boards of 11 different companies, including recent start-ups BlackThorn Therapeutics, UNITY Biotechnology, and Vir Biotechnology.
On the dais for Day Two of the fireside chat will be Dr. Richard Scheller, the Chief Science Officer & Head of Therapeutics for 23andMe, the direct-to-consumer genetic testing powerhouse. The company is now moving into the therapeutic side of genomics. As the journal Nature noted last week, with more than 2 million customers and growing, 23andMe has “quietly become the largest genetic study the world has ever known.” Scheller will talk about the company’s work to tap into the wealth of human genetic data.
Something for Everyone
Investors are attending to take the pulse of the market, find out what’s new and scope out possible companies ripe for investment. Entrepreneurs and other biotech leaders come to meet with investors, find potential partners and keep up with industry trends. Reporters show up to write about deal-making and what will drive the next innovation — and who will benefit. For anyone interested in early stage discovery, this is the place to be.
A popular feature of the event is BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™. This state-of-the-art proprietary program contains robust profiles of attending investors and senior business professionals and schedules face-to-face meetings with companies of interest. The system has both Outlook and Gmail integration as well as a free mobile app for iPhone and Android, allowing meeting schedules to be managed on the go. This year, we are on track to schedule more than 2,600 meetings.
The deal-making won’t end with the BIO Investor Forum. BIO is offering free access to BIO One-on-One Partnering during JPM Week (January 7 – 11, 2018). The system will retain meeting history from the BIO Investor Forum and other BIO partnering events to help maximize meeting potential during JPM week. Stop by Elizabethan A today at 2:30 for an information session and demonstration of the partnering system. Those who join the session will receive expedited registration for JPM week.
To all our attendees, welcome to the BIO Investor Forum!