BIO CEO & Investor Conference Succeeds in Bringing Innovators to Investors and Vice Versa

The 19th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference came to a close February 14, having drawn more than 1,225 attendees including nearly 500 investors. During a busy two days, over 2,650 partnering meetings took place arranged through BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™—a proprietary system that enables participants to move efficiently from prospective partner identification to discussion and negotiation. Held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, the event is one of the largest investor conference focused on established and emerging publicly traded and select private biotech companies who are developing the next generation of medicines and cures.

Beyond bringing investors and companies together for potential collaborations and funding opportunities, the conference featured a wide variety of panel discussions and “fireside chats” with CEOs developing innovative therapies to help patients. Professionals from all areas of biotechnology participated including the investment community, C-level biotech executives, patient advocacy and other non-profit organizations, academics and public policy experts.

There were also more than 160 company presentations from established public and private biotech companies on their latest therapies in development. Rounding out the conference program were video-taped interviews with recognized leaders at the BIO Buzz Center. Click here to view the videos or tune into BIO’s YouTube channel.

BIO sponsors meetings and conferences throughout the year that support industry-wide success including the BIO International Convention which attracts roughly 16,000 attendees from around the globe. This year’s event will be held in San Diego, CA June 19-22.

Beyond the IPO: Reverse Mergers to Tap Public Market Capital

On the opening day of the 2017 BIO CEO & Investor Conference in New York City, conference attendees had a chance to hear a panel discuss an alternative to the traditional IPO approach for emerging biotechnology companies looking to tap into public market capital: the reverse merger.

IPOs and Beyond: Tapping into the Public Market’s Capital was moderated by Stephen B. Thau, a partner with Morrison & Foerster LLP, and panelists included:

  • James Cappuccio, Managing Director, Investment Banking, H.C. Wainwright & Co., LLC
  • Brian Hagerty, Senior Director, Head of Healthcare Capital Markets, New York Stock Exchange
  • Douglas E. Onsi, Chief Financial Officer, Leap Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Sapna Srivastava, PhD, former Chief Financial Officer and Chief Strategy Officer, Intellia Therapeutics
  • Nassim Usman, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst Biosciences

So what is a reverse merger? “Usually there is a public company that has a lot of cash and few other assets,” explained moderator Stephen Thau Oftentimes that’s a company that raised money for a Phase 3 program that was called off early… so you have this pile of cash in the company that’s listed publicly but is not pursuing the plans for which it had originally raised that capital. And then the other part of the transaction is a private company – and oftentimes it’s a venture backed company but not necessarily so… which is looking for financing and sees an opportunity by combining with the public company to do two things. One, raise capital, because the public company has a pile of capital that can then be redeployed for the private company’s uses. And then the second thing is to become a public company.”

All the panelists agreed that any public company which might be in a position to consider a reverse merger will have no shortage of private companies eager to put their cash to work. So what are they looking for in a potential suitor?

H.C. Wainwright’s James Cappuccio advised that “every board, every management has different thoughts about what would be best for their shareholders, and again it depends on the type of money that’s in the company.             Sometimes if there are legacy, crossover VC investors there, they want to maintain some kind of continuity in terms of therapeutic focus. Other people, maybe they had multiple setbacks and will say ‘You know what, maybe it’s a change in direction that we need.’ There’s always the person that says ‘Hey, we probably should just find some small commercial product and then build out around that.’ There really is no generalization; it’s all over the map.”

Read more of our #BIOCEO17 coverage here.