Posts Tagged investor

Challenges and Opportunities in DevOps

Image result for devopsAfter Agile and Waterfall, recent red hot trend in creating optimum software engineering culture in organizations, has been DevOps. DevOps is about unifying software development and operations and aligning it with shared business and product objectives. Creating smoothly functioning DevOps culture helps organizations shorten development cycles and ensure dependable and timely releases.

With DevOps enabling real-time visibility in every layer of software construction, the risk of rapid innovation is reduced as communication barriers are dissolved between teams and feedback loops are shortened. Objective single source data through shared dashboard reduces finger pointing. Companies that have not yet adopted DevOps, increasingly feel the pressure to do so. However, when companies seek to adopt DevOps, they also face challenges.

Image result for not tools, cultureCreating a smoothly functioning DevOps culture, requires creating an optimum environment for the shift in mindset to take hold and enabling a smooth transition process through soft and hard skills training.  Traditionally, goals of Development and Operations are not aligned and handovers between different teams are costly and time consuming. A company seeking to adopt DevOps culture, needs to overcome this mentality and create product aligned team culture, away from project based culture. This is a major mindset shift that may require restructuring in staff and reporting lines, in addition to skills based training. While there is high barrier to entry with microservices, the move to automation and continuous delivery is facilitated by replacing or changing older legacy infrastructure to microservices architecture.

In any organization but more so in one seeking to adopt DevOps culture, people on the team are going to be the most important resources, for a smooth transition. Adopting newer tools may be effective only to the extent that staff receives training to use them and the tools are well integrated with the existing infrastructure.  A shift in culture must be gradual and include change management training to help people embrace the change. It will be easier to bring Dev and Ops teams on board to adopting newer tools if the focus is moved away from personalities and preferences to broader picture and larger, overarching goals of the company.  While the change may be scary at first, adoption may be smoother with objective data and feedback loops from small scale deployments and other teams to see the benefits of it working in real time.

Image result for tieinflectExciting track at TiE Inflect 2018, the largest entrepreneurship conference to take place in May at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, will feature VCs and industry leaders discussing trends, opportunities, and strategies to deal with challenges. Entrepreneurs with eyes towards innovation in DevOps will also get to do a deep dive in the Startup bootcamp, and may learn to become investor ready, learn to effectively network and maximize visibility, and fine tune presentations and pitches. Register for the conference at .


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Biotech Showcase 2018 Preview: What it will mean to be living in the era of cures & more VC money

Lunch plenary sessions are always a huge draw at Biotech Showcase and are very exciting. On day one, a panel moderated by Sara Radcliff from CLSA will take a 60,000 feet view and will discuss what the future holds for biotechnology and life science sector. Biotechnology is increasingly going beyond treatment to focusing on cures. Day 2 panel moderated by Alice Valder Curran from Hogan Lovells with Eric Aguiar from Aisling, Philippe Lopes-Fernandes from Merck and Camille Samuels from Venrock will discuss “what it means to be in the era of cures”. The panel will discuss how public and private markets are still catching up with new policies on coverage, pricing, and liability issues, making it even more challenging to decide what product candidates to pursue.  Lunch panel on day 3 moderated by Ellen Corenswet from Covington & Burling LLP and populated by prominent VCs and industry experts will reflect on 2017 surge of venture capital.
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Besides all day information packed sessions focused on key diseases that are getting attention , there are interesting panels and sessions on treatment modalities that are the garnering attention of investors and entrepreneurs .  And then there will be panels discussing investment in healthcare, what to expect in 2018 from investment perspective and what are likely to be new drivers of innovation in drug development, and new targets, new trends and new combinations in treatment.

Besides three action packed days, the evenings will be packed with countless receptions and networking will continue late into the night. Concurrent 36th annual J P Morgan Healthcare Conference is expecting 400+ public and private companies to deliver presentations to over 8000 attendees. San Francisco will be taken over by everything health for three days, from January 8th through 10th, 2018.  

While JPM conference is by invitation only event, registration is open for Biotech Showcase at or at


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Biotech Showcase 2018 Preview: Treatment focus on microbiome, regenerative medicine, gene & immuno therapies

Image result for biotech showcase 2018Biotech Showcase taking place concurrently with the J P Morgan event in San Francisco, will host more than 3,500 attendees and 900+ investors. This event considered to be a critical strategic benchmark for business development activities in biotech, medtech, pharma and digital health, is regarded as among the year’s most important investor meeting place and sets the tone for financial health in these sectors, for the coming year.  Speakers and attendees at Biotech Showcase, will participate, network and listen to over 400 company presentations. Over 2,100 companies from 50+ countries will participate.  Besides 7000+ one on one meetings, general sessions will focus on a number of topics that are significantly expected to impact the healthcare arena. Here are some of the treatment modalities that are getting interest from both investors and entrepreneurs.

A panel moderated by Joseph Gulfo, Executive Director at Lewis Center for healthcare innovation and technology with Thomas Hallam, CEO of Leading Biosciences, Arpita Maiti, Senior Director, ES&I at Pfizer, Glenn Nedwin, CEO of Second Genome, will start day one. Microbiome refers to internal ecosystem of bacteria, widely believed to be residing in the gut. By some researchers estimates, over 90% of all diseases can be traced to the gut and health of the microbiome. However, new research on lung, skin, inflammation, immunology, and neuro microbiome is bringing together experts in neuroscience, gastroenterology, microbiology and more to unlock even larger role that microbiota plays in interacting with itself and its human host, in understanding disease and health and better understand possible treatment modalities.Image result for microbiome, neuro

Image result for regenerative medicineA panel moderated by Janet Lambert, CEO at Alliance for Regenerative Medicine will discuss next gen cell based immunotherapies with panelists Robert Preti from Hitachi, Bob Azelby from Juno Therapeutics, Manuel Litchman from Mustang Bio, James Noble from Adaptimmunie, Pascal Touchon from Novartis and Scott Walchko from Fate Therapeutics.  Immunotherapies use body’s immune system’s natural capacity to detect and destroy abnormal cells. Immmunotherapies have generated great deal of interest, specifically for treatment of cancers because these regimens present fewer side effects and have less potential for creating resistance when treating microbial diseases.

Image result for gene therapyGene therapies using genes to treat or prevent diseases, indicate promising though yet risky treatment options. What does the future hold for gene therapies, specially beyond rare diseases?  Bill Lundberg from CRISPR and Geoff Nichol from Biomarin will discuss outlook for gene therapies.  

PS: Here is link to my earlier blog on disease areas that will generate interest and renewed attention in some of the panels . Registration is open for Biotech Showcase at or at



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Biotech Showcase 2018 Preview: Disease focus: infectious diseases, metabolic syndrome, skin & more

Biotech Showcase taking place concurrently with the J P Morgan event in San Francisco in January 2018, is an investor and networking conference.  Many partnerships and collaborations will be forged with over over 7000 one on one meetings, with opportunities for eager innovators to seek out enthusiastic investors.  Besides one on one meetings, general sessions will focus on a number of disease areas that are significantly expected to impact the healthcare arena.  More blogs to follow and will highlight focus on new treatment modalities.

Image result for skin diseases highlight internal problemsA panel led by Jennifer Goldstein from Silicon Valley Bank will focus on body’s largest organ that is often misunderstood and frequently underrated, the skin. Panelists Alan Dunton from Purdue Pharma, David Giljohann from Exicure, Jennifer Good from Trevi Therapeutics, Shelley Harman from Aegle and Mark Wilson from MatriSys will discuss early signs and symptoms on the skin that often signal infectious and internal diseases.

Image result for antibiotic resistance, infectious diseaseAntimicrobial resistance or (AMR) is increasingly a prominent public health concern and has been highlighted by both WHO and CDC. Since the discovery of first antibiotic penicillin in 1928, more than 100 compounds have been created but no new class has been found. In panel moderated by Bibhash Mukhopadhyay at New Enterprise Associates, leading anti-microbial drug development experts, Alan Carr of Needham, Julia Gregory from Contrafect, Kenneth Hillan from Achaogen, Gregory Mario from Taxis Pharma, John Rex from F2G, and Chris Stevens from Arsanis will discuss the tailwinds and headwinds in this space that is getting a fresh second look from both experts and investors.

Image result for metabolic syndromeCurrent epidemic of metabolic syndrome will be the focus in a panel moderated by Philip Kenner from ClearView with panelists Deborah Dunsire from DTuit, Tomas Landh from Novo Nordisk, Harith Rajagopalan from Fractyl Labs, and Wendye Robbins from Blade Therapeutics. Having any one of the risk factors like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, obesity, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides can greatly increase health risk.  However having a cluster of these conditions together indicate metabolic syndrome and vastly increase health risk. Metabolic syndrome is on the rise, reaching epidemic proportions according to some health experts.

While JPM conference is by invitation only event, registration is open for Biotech Showcase at or at

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Lessons for Starting a Medical Device Company in Silicon Valley

Mr. Michael Allen, a serial entrepreneur, (previously in executive roles at Xlumena, Metrika, and Chemtrack), and currently CEO of Vascular Designs, a targeted drug delivery company, talked about “starting a medical device company in Silicon Valley”, at .


Financing is one of the major early challenges that entrepreneurs face.  While it begins with a good idea, they also need to obtain some seed financing, and they need a short 2 page summary.  Their business plan should be an outline that includes some financial projections, some data about market and market need, information about regulatory path and reimbursement issues.  Advocates, typically medical experts, are also needed.  With these pieces in place, they would be ready to go for institutional financing and begin to meet the investors.


The VC model has changed, said Allen.  Traditional VC model used to focus around a goal with very high end value, in the range of $250 M where 10’s of millions would be invested.  It was built around the idea of large management teams in the early phase and a ready sales force in anticipation of the launch, that often never happens.  Many VCs who adhered to this model, are out of business.  The current model is to focus on a goal to achieve a moderate exit.  Team is scaled in proportion to the need, sales force is maintained at small level until product and market are demonstrated.  It is assumed that delays are inevitable and cash is king.


Allen talked about his experience and learnings from leading ChemTrak from seed stage to IPO exit, with 6X return.  ChemTrak was a diagnostic company, with a single use diagnostic kit to measure Total and HDL cholesterol and other non-instrumented quantitative tests.  He also shared lessons in leading Metrika, another diagnostic company that was sold to Bayer, with 1.5X return plus ongoing royalty deal.  Metrika’s several products included A1C test, giving patients with diabetes on the spot feedback on their A1C number and e.p.t. pregnancy test.   They had some good patents, but mixing electronics, optics, and chemistry was very challenging, said Allen.  Allen’s next company Xlumena, is medical device company with products aimed to advance image guided endoscopic therapy.  These products allow minimally invasive alternatives for diseases of the organs that surround the GI tract.  Summarizing some of the learnings, Allen said, CEO is responsible for everything, no matter who makes decisions.


Allen’s current company, Vascular Designs offers a new treatment option for people suffering from life-threatening illnesses like cancer, through targeted drug delivery, as opposed to systemic approach.  Through transfemoral catheter, drugs can be delivered directly into the tumor cells and block the blood supply.  It allows for high concentration of drugs delivered, while at the same time, reduces systemic exposure, thus minimizing caustic side effects.  This procedure can be performed as an outpatient procedure, takes only about an hour, and nothing is permanently implanted.  For success of a venture, Allen stressed, it is very important to hire the right people.  He discussed hiring process he follows and also emphasized the importance of spending time and writing a good job description.  The talk was followed by Q&A.

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