Entrepreneurs offer advice on benefits of biotech start-ups
By Jan Jarvis
Investing in Biotech: What If You Could Change the Future?
Investing in a biotech or life science start-up promises benefits that go beyond the substantial financial rewards.
Such investments offer the chance to make an extraordinary difference in the world, said Cameron Cushman, Director, Innovation Ecosystems at UNT Health Science Center.
When some invests in real estate, oil or another business, they might bring something new to the marketplace or provide a service.
“But with a life science or biotech start-up, you’re investing in something that could potentially cure a disease,” he said. “You have the added benefit of helping humanity and not just making big returns.”
Entrepreneurs who have done exactly that will be among the speakers at the “Investing in Biotech: What If You Could Change the Future” event on May 16 at UNT Health Science Center.
While investing in biotech offers the opportunity to be part of potentially life-giving, lucrative technologies, there are challenges, said Les Kreis, Managing partner and co-founder of Bios Partners, a venture capital firm that makes its entrepreneurial expertise available on a monthly basis to all UNTHSC students, staff and faculty members.
“It is highly technical in nature and requires significant subject matter expertise,” he said.
Potential investors will get insight into the impact life science and biotech start-ups can make during the free event from 8 a.m.to 5 p.m. at the MET building on the UNTHSC campus.
Among the speakers are the co-founders of ZS Pharma, who developed a drug that treats hyperkalemia, a potentially life-threatening disease caused by excess potassium. In 2015, ZS Pharma made headlines when AstraZeneca purchased the start-up for $2.7 billion.
Joe Cunningham, MD, from Sante Ventures, a $700 million fund that invests in early stage biotech and life sciences companies, will give the lunch presentation.
Early-stage investing is risky in general and early-stage biotech startups are among the riskiest kind of investments, but they can also be incredibly profitable and the opportunities keep growing, said David Chappell, co-manager of BC Collaborations.
“We know that over the past 20 years, high-end new jobs created in American have been in small businesses,” he said. “Couple that with what is happening in technology and it is imperative that Fort Worth investors have an opportunity to invest in these fields and learn from the people who are having phenomenal success.”
Getting the medications, medical devices and other therapies from biotech and life science start-ups is very expensive, Cushman said.
“Investors need to be prepared for a lot of different hurdles they might face, such as the cost of doing clinical trials,” he said.
Since 2006, UNT Health Science Center’s Office of Research Development & Commercialization, and TECH Fort Worth, a non-profit technology incubator, have played a part in bringing these new technologies to the market.
There are plenty of opportunities in biotech and life science investments with many exceptional advances occurring in health care every day from the use of robotics to artificial intelligence, Chappell said.
“These start-ups are playing a major role in delivering health care better, faster and cheaper,” he said.
UNT Health Science Center has embarked on an ambitious campaign to invest in entrepreneurship and to develop an innovative mindset for its students, faculty and staff. This initiative is essential if UNTHSC is to achieve its vision of defining and producing the health care providers of the future...Read more
May 24, 2019
By Sally Crocker A Fort Worth mother of two discovered some unusual items while unpacking her family’s suitcases on vacation. Turns out, she had found her 15-year-old son’s JUUL pods. He had been secretly vaping, joining the tens of thousands of kids across the U.S. who have fallen p...Read more
May 23, 2019
By Sally Crocker Thad Miller, DrPH, MPH, has been inspired by many influences in his life: family, his desire to serve others, the opportunity to create change in the world through research and action, and some good old fashioned values learned from a long line of salt-of-the-earth Erat...Read more
May 22, 2019
By Jan Jarvis They have been dubbed digital natives, and they are the first generation to cut their teeth on technology. Theirs is a world of tablets and texting; blogs, videos and all things digital. “These are the kids who have never even known a world without cell phones,” said B...Read more
May 22, 2019