This coming week, San Francisco will host the Super Bowl of Life Sciences: the annual J.P. Morgan HealthCare Conference. There are two very good articles as a guide and preview to the event, one published by thestreet.com outlining key investor questions to ask, and another item published by lifescivc.com on the top 15 things that will be heard in SFO at JPM. Bruce Booth of Atlas Venture, the author, is spot on and a must read for anyone keying in one the sector. Both are good road maps to navigate the conference and should be required reading for anyone who will be in attendance.
Interesting article this week in Fierce Medical Devices, Emily Wasserman writes about Sera Prognostics latest financing for their preterm births prediction test. Although this is s a crowded market space, to me it looks like Seta is a strong candidate for acquisition. http://bit.ly/1x7SpMv
Damien Garde at Fierce Biotech writes that in its recent round of financing, five new Venture Capital firms joined Atlas in the gene editing company, Surface. Gene editing defining the next generation of cancer therapeutics via cell identifiers and Surface is giving Merck ($MRK), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) a run as its grabs headlines on its preclinical programs for expanding its potential blockbuster antibodies. http://bit.ly/14eMsqe
Fascinating article about Kyle Bass and his hedge fund's effort to challenge drug company patents via something called the Inter Partes review process. Many large pharmaceutical companies attempt to Evergreen their Intellectual Property positions. This process of "evergreening," is one in which companies prolong their monopoly on a particular drug by filing a slew of minor patents. Bass's effort would seek to review this process and potentially challenge these efforts. It will be interesting to see if he is successful. It will also be interesting to see how he intends to make money off of the strategy. http://bit.ly/1IAmOd7
Fresh off licking it's wounds from a failed bid at Allergan, Valeant's CEO this week announced that they are still shopping for M&A deals. I think they need to feed the beast to continue to be successful. The most interesting thing is that he extended his contract by five years but did away entirely with his base salary. His compensation will completely be dependent upon the company stock performance. That is a very very bold move. I was never a fan of Valeant but I think I might buy the stock based upon the fact alone. http://bit.ly/1y0Ud0O
I love the article this week by Alex Lash in xconomy about Juno Therapeutics. I think the article completely sums up the company and the status of the market these days. It also confirms that a great CEO always thinks outside the box. Sheer joy to read. http://bit.ly/1silvgO
Very interesting note on Gilead this week and it's latest deal with Phenex for NASH assets. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is a really great indication and I think any company pursuing clinical development in this area could expect to get partnerships and buyers for late stage critical assets.
Another very interesting article on Bloomberg.com this week by Sonya Elmquist regarding Knight Therapeutics and it's sale of a first priority review voucher. This is an asset which many small companies can potentially sell in the future. The recent activity by Knight set a new record for a sale of such an asset. I think many investment bankers may try to seek this as a monetization opportunity. http://bloom.bg/1y34MgO
Editor's Note: Seth Yakatan is a founder of Katan Associates and is currently serving as Vice-President of Business Development for Invion, Ltd. (ASX:IVX) and is a founder of Katan Associates. Seth has been professionally involved in the biotechnology industry for the past 15 years.
Invion, Ltd., is a clinical-stage drug development company focused on the development of treatments for major market opportunities in inflammatory diseases including asthma, chronic bronchitis and lupus. Website: www.InvionGroup.com
Seth, and his late father, Stan Yakatan, started Katan Associates over 15 years ago parlaying Stan's work as a thought leader in the nascent industry from the late 1980's to this year. Katan Associates provides strategic advice to leading corporate biotech companies. It's early work with emerging growth companies led to creation of the Technology Corridor of Souther California and continues to this day. Look anywhere in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, Boston, Israel, Canada, etc., and you can see the work of Katan Associates.
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