North Carolina’s entrepreneurial companies will have an opportunity to learn more about alternative funding sources — disease foundations that have established venture arms — at a November 1 event at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
Invest in Cures will feature investment professionals from eight national nonprofit disease foundations in a forum from 4 to 7 p.m. These professionals will discuss their investment philosophies, explain their fund and deal structures and describe how they are using deep scientific knowledge to validate early-stage technologies and syndicate with other investors. LaunchBio, Inc., one of the Center’s partner organizations, is hosting the event.
Nonprofit disease foundations are an emerging community of investors in life science companies. Increasingly, they are making investments in life science companies to accelerate the pace of commercialization of technologies that may provide new therapies and cures for patients. Traditionally, such foundations have focused solely on making grants to researchers. Now they are creating a range of investment vehicles to achieve their missions.
“We are interested in new sources of capital for early-stage life science companies, and see non-traditional investors, such as these foundations, as an important addition to the network,” says Joan Siefert Rose, CEO of LaunchBio. “As disease foundations start venture arms and add investment professionals to their teams, the organizations hosting this forum want to make sure they are meeting other investors and learning about promising companies in North Carolina. Our expectation is that they will find good opportunities here, and return frequently,” she says.
The confirmed speakers for the forum are:
- Mark Allegretta, Ph.D., VP of commercial research, National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Jonathan Behr, Ph.D., managing director, T1D Fund, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
- Bob Crutchfield, managing director, BrightEdge Ventures Fund, American Cancer Society
- Gerard Honig, Ph.D., manager of translational research, IBD Ventures, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
- Debra Miller, president & CEO, CureDuchenne Ventures
- Chris Penland, Ph.D., VP of biopharma programs, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
- Barbara Tate, Ph.D., venture partner, Dementia Discovery Fund
- Ben Yerxa, Ph.D., CEO, Retinal Degeneration Fund, Foundation Fighting Blindness
LaunchBio, a nonprofit organization that identifies, counsels, and supports high-growth, high-impact life science and biotechnology companies, holds monthly gatherings for the biotech community, called Larger Than Life Science. Invest in Cures is part of this series. Its goals include connecting entrepreneurs with knowledge, capital and talent, not only in this geographic region, but across the nation’s leading life science hubs. In addition to this programming from its Durham hub, LaunchBio offers programs in San Diego and Boston, and will soon expand to New York City.
(C) N.C. Biotech Center