AVX September 2020 Update

Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu

September 1, 2020

Well, August has come and gone with highs and lows (and more lows). That said, as we enter September, I'm looking forward to the next month - we have a full deck of events, including must attend ones from Yale, UCLA, the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, and Northwestern. And we have some exciting platform updates for AVX!

First off - we are providing a heightened layer of 'members only' content on AVX. What does this mean? To access richer content like executive summaries, pitch decks, videos, homepages, needs, and contact information, users will need to be logged in. Don't have an account on AVX yet? Sign up here! This compromise has been beta tested for the past few months to strike a balance between providing custom and higher-quality content to our registered members while allowing non-confidential information to be easily shared to second-degree referrals for the ecosystem. We will continue to test this new feature in the coming months.

Next up - we have introduced a favorites to the AVX platform. Now members, when logged in, will be able to favorite ventures they are interested in (you'll notice hearts decorated on the platform). We will be able to provide anonymous reports on venture engagement and will have more data on this experiment over the coming months.

In this newsletter, I will tell you about your teams we are currently hosting on our platform and highlight a few (digital) events from around the network.

With our updated interface, you can see all ventures here: AVX Feed

Conversation Statistics: We are up to 8003 total connections and conversations on the AVX network - 534 more over the last month (7% month over month growth!). We are currently tracking 17 potential match negotiations and another 109 with multi-month long discussions heading toward possible matches (and a handful of matches in stealth). We have now actively connected 466 different ventures (out of 1130+ examined) with 1092 different entrepreneurs and investors (out of a pool of 2700+).

Top September Digital Events

Investment Insights with UCLA TDG (Sept 10): Investors have different investment thesis and look for different attributes and performance milestones before committing to research projects or early stage companies. Hear from Jim Demetriades (Kairos Ventures), Zach Jonasson (Phoenix Venture Partners), Michelle Kim-Danely (Autobahn Labs), Robey Miller (Alpha Edison), and Kirsten Leute (OUP) - top representatives of venture funds that work with academia on value creation.

Yale Blavatnik Showcase (September 17): Join us as we kick off the 5th year of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale. Along with support from Demy-Colton, this webinar will explore where several past award recipients are with their projects, and you will also have the chance to meet the latest 2021 Blavatnik Awardees.

Illinois Ignite 2020 (September 24): Join us virtually for Illinois Ignite 2020, featuring technologies and start-ups from Northwestern University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Illinois Institute of Technology. Hear from innovators and entrepreneurs in healthcare, IT and advanced hardware.


Advancements in Therapeutics (Sept 2): As the pandemic rages on through 2020, there has been a renewed excitement, investment, and hope in the development of novel therapeutics to treat diseases. Come hear what new startups are doing to stop bleeding in traumatic injury, delivery cancer drugs past tumor and brain barriers, and generate single-cell sequencing data to accelerate drug discovery. (NB: AVX team Cayuga Biotech will be presenting!)

How to Talk with VCs (Sept 2): Part of Indie Bio's Founder's series, this workshop and discussion will feature Indie Bio partner Rodrigo Mallo Leiva, covering what conversation topics can pique an investor's interest and lead to future meetings.

Your Guide to Filing a Large or Small Molecule IND (Sept 2): Do you have a solid plan to achieve IND acceptance? JLABS and Janssen R&D invite you to an in-depth look into the process of filing an IND. Whether your goal is to develop a pipeline through commercial launch or partner as early as possible, submitting an IND is a critical early milestone for every biotech company. With big Pharma and VC firms competing for the most promising solutions, it can be helpful to demonstrate a clear strategy for IND approval, hear the experts weigh in.

System Immunology in Aging and Complex Diseases (Sept 2-3): This 2-day virtual meeting will break down silos of specialization and will coalesce leading scientists from three disciplines (immunology, aging and computational biology) with shared interests in understanding aging at the systems level and in curing aging-related diseases.

Mining Midwest Biotech Treasures (Sept 8): Geeta Vemuri, PhD, MBA is a healthcare executive with unique experience in both Fund management and big pharma. Dr. Vemuri is the Founder of Agent Capital (2017), a Healthcare Venture Fund with focus on therapeutics investments in the areas of Oncology, Immunology and Rare Diseases. Current investors in the fund include, a strategic investor, family offices of former Pharma executives and institutional investors. Dr. Vemuri’s fund responsibilities include, firm management and portfolio management including deal negotiation, active company management through board role.

Learning from Black Entrepreneurs, Investors and Executives (Sept 9): Diversity creates a strategic advantage. According to the BIO diversity report, people of color make up 32% of the biotech workforce. Yet, only 15% of executive teams and 14% of biotech company boards are inclusive of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Representation matters! On this panel, you will hear from top VC's and Entrepreneurs of color. They will share their experiences working in life sciences, discuss the challenges they faced, and how the industry will benefit from being more inclusive.

NCI 2020 Technology Showcase (Sept 9): The 2020 Technology Showcase is going virtual! Reserve the afternoon of September 9th on your calendar for the 2020 Technology Showcase. The 4th annual event will highlight technologies being developed at the NCI and the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNL) to encourage technology licensing and collaborations, startup company formation and the translation of NCI discoveries into solutions to benefit patients.

A Glimpse Into the Mind of the Investor (Sept 10): In partnership with Silicon Valley Bank, we’re gathering a lineup of top-tier VCs from across the globe to spill their secrets to what they think is necessary for a successful Series A fundraising. Experience their feedback firsthand as 6 high-potential JLABS companies from locations around the world present to them for a chance to be awarded best pitch!

Ethics and Privacy: Terms of Usage, a Data Science Day 2020 Virtual Event (Sept 14): As part of the Data Science Institute's flagship annual event, Ethics and Privacy: Terms of Usage will bring together thought leaders who are driving discussions on ethics and privacy in data science and engineering. Eric Schmidt, former Google Chief Executive Officer, will deliver the keynote address.

Existential Medicine #8: Seeing the Brain (Sept 15): This installment of Existential Medicine—a Newlab and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS event series, with supporting partner EY—will explore how transformative technology is reshaping the way we look at neurodegenerative diseases.

Cornell Bioventure Kickoff (Sept 15): Register to check in on the earliest wave of bioventures starting to build out of Weill Cornell's Accelerating Bioventure Innovation program!

NewYorkBIO Annual Meeting (Sept 15 - 16): The NewYorkBIO Annual Meeting brings together nearly 300 life science professionals to discuss our diverse ecosystem, ever-increasing innovative partnerships and collaborations, and the latest in scientific breakthroughs.

Petri's "The Dish" Bio-Engineering Summit (Sept 16): Petri, the startup accelerator that lives at the intersection of biology and engineering, is holding their first summit, The Dish. Bringing together a host of entrepreneurs, scientists, and other KOLs from around the life sciences and beyond, this choose-your-own-adventure mini-conference manages to fit in more topics than most summits do in a whole day.

BlueTech Global Connect (Sept 17): The BlueTech Global Connect (BGC) webinar series is designed to connect exciting BlueTech companies from around the world with potential advisors, investors and partners globally. Please join us this month to hear presentations from 3 great BlueTech companies with innovative Water and Wastewater technologies: Aquacycl (US), MARINE TECH (France) and Semiotic Labs (Netherlands), followed by a Q&A moderated by Harro Brons of Dutch water cluster, The Water Alliance.

How the Market Blocks Innovation in Antibiotics (Sept 17): Penicillin ranks as one of the greatest drugs of all time. But nearly 100 years after its discovery, antibiotic-resistant bacteria now pose a grave danger to public health. Who is developing new antibiotics to counter the threat? Very few companies, it turns out. Not because there is no need, but because of structural barriers in the market. Generics dominate, and big pharma has little interest in innovation or acquiring startups in the space. What's going on, and how might incentives be changed? Join us on Thursday, September 17 to hear from Ryan Cirz, founder and former VP of Research at Achaogen. Achaogen's Zemdri was once predicted to generate $500 million a year, but the company filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

BioGenerator SBIR/STTR Proposal Workshop (Sept 23-24): BioGenerator and BBC bring this workshop to cover all aspects of writing an SBIR/STTR proposal focused on life science technologies. After an introduction of the BioGenerator program by Harry Arader, this day and a half training will begin by reviewing the SBIR/STTR program basics including what they fund, which federal agencies participate, how the money can be used and the differences between the SBIR and STTR programs.

AFWERX EngageSpace (Sept 29-30): Join AFWERX, the US Air Force, the US Space Force and The Space Frontier Foundation for a two-day virtual event on September 29-30. We will come together virtually to dismantle the walls between sectors, revolutionize how the space ecosystem works, and close the 'believability gap' for what's possible in space.

MassCEC Quarterly Funding Opportunities Update (Sept 29): Our fall 2020 Quarterly Funding Opportunities Update webinar will discuss MassCEC’s Catalyst Program and AmplifyMass Program. MassCEC will be joined by the Catalyst program administrator - Priya Yadav, Vice President of Investments at MassVentures, to discuss the Catalyst Program. This webinar series highlights open solicitations for funding from MassCEC, covers the application process and timeline of each program, and discusses the programs’ goals and who should apply.

DoD SBIR/STTR Virtual Symposium (Oct 7): The DoD Small Business and Technology Partnerships (SBTP) will host its inaugural DoD SBIR/STTR Virtual Symposium on Wednesday, October 7, 2020. This event is designed to be a dynamic day enabling small businesses to learn more about the DoD SBIR/STTR programs and interact with program leadership. The collaborative day will include keynote speeches from government leaders, industry prospective stories, panel discussions, and a question and answer session.

BIO Investor Forum (Oct 13-15): This year’s event is an ideal platform for academic research centers and start-up companies to meet with potential industry collaborators, learn about the latest partnering models, and facilitate the transfer of your research into discoveries and therapeutic solutions.

NYC Life Science Innovation Showcase (Nov 17): Hold the date! Please join us as New York City’s most talented life science entrepreneurs showcase their work to investors and biopharma business executives. The day will include virtual networking, rapid-fire business pitches, and distinguished keynote panels.

Lighter Content

Oh, hello there, my diligent friend - thank you for going this far in the newsletter! As a reward, I'd like to share a few lighter items for your listening and viewing pleasure. :D

The Addictive Joy of Watching Someone Listen to Phil Collins - Twins in Indiana have a YouTube channel dedicated to their 'first listens' of famous songs they have missed out on. And the immediate reactions to these songs are just amazing and heart warming. And where does Phil Collins come in? Here - just sit down and watch.

So long for now! – Hamdi