Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How to keep the edge in life sciences at home in Mass.

By Anupendra Sharma
Appeared in Mass High Tech on June 11, 2007

Massachusetts grew solidly through the 1980s and 1990s, but ultimately important employment sectors such as computers, Internet, silicon, finance and engineering slipped away. Either the innovative growth occurred elsewhere, or as in the case of BankBoston, they were consolidated.

Today, two exciting fields hold great promise -- clean tech and life sciences. Competing in clean tech presents challenges. California has more money, Europe has been tinkering with the technology for years, and both China and India have greater need to find immediate solutions.

Life sciences is very different. The state has a combined edge in biotech and med tech. Massachusetts has 770 biotech companies and a handful of top 20 research institutions funded by such entities as the National Institutes of Health. The state is home to two of the world's largest med-tech companies, and has top health care venture capital firms. Our universities and teaching hospitals know how to license technologies and spin out companies. Amazingly, 21 angel networks operate in the area. The concentrated cluster of people, ideas and money is unparalleled. Since we will never be as large as California, or as populous as China or India, we must use our critical mass and concentrated size to our advantage.

If we don't have a strong game plan, life sciences will be another race that we may give up: to Silicon Valley in biotechnology, to China in medical technologies and to India in contract research. The Sunshine State has 5,400 biotechs. There are thousands of med-tech companies in Guangzhou, China, alone. In India, arguably more patients can be signed up in a week for device trials than in a whole year in the United States. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, annual VC investments are flat at $3 billion, while the number of venture-backed startups is declining.

We have to focus on what's important to entrepreneurs and give them just that. Tax breaks and more office space in Cambridge are arguably important, but leaders, workers, money and global connectivity are more urgent. Below are four vital points:

Channel the money: Massachusetts is a rich state with deep pockets. Angels are beginning to get organized. However, only a few angel groups have health care expertise. Their efforts can be pooled to invest more in life sciences. These resources have to be channeled in an orchestrated manner.

Stop the migration of highly skilled labor: Our employee base of 25-year-olds to 34-year-olds has shrunk by 25 percent since 1990. Big companies and startups have to reverse this tide. We need to ensure our talent stays by expanding internships and getting organized statewide for those who graduate with skills in life sciences.

Grow, train and mentor the pool of entrepreneurs and leaders: One of the nation's leading med-tech headhunters said Boston is tough to hire into or hire out of. So we have to develop what we have. Large corporations have to shoulder their share of the burden in training future leaders, so if this talent quits, they stay in the statewide ecosystem. Let us find mechanisms that bring managers with entrepreneurial spirit out of their cubicles and get them exposed to early-stage ventures.

Connect Boston directly to the world: Why is India, a growing R&D powerhouse, setting up operations in New Jersey? Where are Israeli companies moving into the United States? Why do I need to connect through another city to get to Israel, China or India? It is imperative that we connect Boston to these innovation clusters. It gives us better, faster access to ideas, people and markets. We will maintain world-class R&D, the way Silicon Valley has managed to do so in technology, in spite of the noise of outsourcing.

Collaboration will be the key to winning. We won't sell our startups too early. Serial entrepreneurs successful at running billion-dollar companies will stay when they see an open, welcoming, globally connected, low-friction culture that focuses on mentoring and educating entrepreneurs, and is teeming with excitement akin to the Valley's technology scene. We can achieve this because we are compact, connected and willing -- more so than any other cluster anywhere.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Chemclin Closes First Round Of Fund Raising led by WI Harper and Siemens Venture Capital supported by Softbank China Venture Capital

Chemclin Press Release

June 5, 2007 - Chemclin Closes First Round Of Fund Raising led by WI Harper and Siemens Venture Capital supported by Softbank China Venture Capital

Beijing, China, June 5, 2007 Chemclin, a company successful in diagnostics reagents and systems in China, today announced that it has now completed its first private fund raising. This $5 million funding was led by WI Harper Group and Siemens Venture Capital with participation of Softbank China Venture Capital. China eCapital acted as exclusive financial advisor to the company on this transaction.

'We are pleased to have preeminent venture capital firms and one of the world's leading diagnostics company support our company. It is a validation of what we are doing,' said Mr. Xitang Ying, CEO of Chemclin. 'The advice and support of top venture capitalists will be of great assistance as we build a global company,' he added.

'We're extremely pleased about the cooperation with Chemclin,' said Peter Liu, Chairman of WI Harper Group. 'They have demonstrated and proven their technological capabilities and sit on top of a tremendous opportunity. Their strong market presence and distribution network, combined with their costadvantages relative to their foreign competitors gives them an excellent position in which to grow. We're proud of having Siemens Venture Capital and Softbank China Venture Capital in this round of fund raising, and look forward to working together more closely in the future.' Peter Liu further noted that the Company enjoys significant first-mover advantages due to its CLIA licenses
in specific critical areas.

Richard Hausmann, President and CEO of Siemens Ltd. China, said 'We are extending a helping hand to the Chinese government in its plans to provide healthcare to everyone in China. By supporting Chemclin, we want to make sure that cutting-edge diagnostics technologies used around the world are available to all Chinese hospitals and laboratories at a reasonable cost.'

Anupendra Sharma, Investment Partner at Siemens Venture Capital in Boston, added 'We are excited about our first healthcare funding in China. Chemclin's management team has done an excellent job of building high quality products and systems, and enjoys an unparalleled reputation in the domestic market. With the support of Siemens, we look forward to making the company the unchallenged leader in the Chinese diagnostics markets.'

Peter Hua, General Partner at Softbank China Venture Capital, said 'Chemclin is one of the important players in the China in-vitro diagnostics market, which is a huge potential market with fast growth. With its strong management team, we believe Chemclin will achieve tremendous success in the domestic and global markets.'

About Beijing Chemclin Biotech
Beijing Chemclin Biotech Co., Ltd. (Chemclin) was established in 1999, and has emerged as one of China's leading diagnostics companies with its own development, manufacturing and distribution headquartered in Beijing. Chemclin develops radioimmunoassay (RIA) kits, ELISA and chemiluminescent (CLIA) kits. The company has a well-established marketing and sales network across China with presence in 30 provinces, more than 2000 local districts and 30,000 towns. More information can be found at: www.chemclin.com.

About WI Harper
With close to $400M under management, WI Harper is one of the first U.S.-based venture capital firms to create a value-adding bridge between the United States and Greater China. For nearly a decade, WI Harper has been building companies internationally by facilitating the flow of capital, technology and management best practices across both sides of the Pacific. The Firm is focused on fueling companies at early expansion stage within Internet, wireless, digital media and life science / healthcare sectors. WI Harper's star portfolios include Focus Media, DivX, Beijing Xinwei, Bridge Pharmaceutical, Cardiva Medical, Commerce One, Celestry, Intraware, iKang Healthcare, MJ Group, Panorama Stock, SirF, 3G.CN, Maxthon and Verisilicon. More information can be found at: www.wiharper.com.

About Siemens Venture Capital
Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) is the corporate venture organization for Siemens AG, one of the largest global electronics and engineering companies, with reported worldwide sales of 87.3 billion euros in fiscal 2006.
SVC's goal is to identify and fund investments in emerging and innovative technologies that will enhance the core business scope of Siemens, particularly in the focus areas of long-term growth markets such as Energy & Environmental Care, Automation & Control, Industrial & Public Infrastructure, and Health Care. To date, we have invested over 700 million euros in more than 100 startup companies and 35 venture capital funds, making venture capital at Siemens an integral component of the Siemens innovation and growth strategy and supplementing its in-house research and development activities (5.7 billion euros and 50,000 R&D experts in 2006).

SVC is located in Germany (Munich), in the U.S. (San José, CA and Boston, MA), in China (Beijing and Shanghai), in India (Mumbai and Bangalore), and is active through Siemens´ regional unit in Israel. SVC is part of a greater network at Siemens whose mission is to drive technological innovation by supporting startup companies. In addition to Siemens Venture Capital, Siemens Technology Accelerator and Siemens Technology-To-Business Center also contribute to Siemens' innovation strategy.
Their individual mandates are defined according to financing stages and industry focus. More information can be found at: www.siemensventurecapital.com.

About Softbank China Venture Capital
Established in 2000, Softbank China Venture Capital (SBCVC) is a leading venture capital firm in China. SBCVC invests in high growth technology companies in various stages, including early, growth, expansion, and pre-IPO. SBCVC covers various industrial sectors, including internet/broadband, wireless, digital media, software, IC design, consumer, medical device, new materials, energy technologies. SBCVC's portfolio companies include Alibaba, Taobao, Focus Media, eBao Tech, PPLive, GDS, etc. More information can be found at: www.sbcvc.com.

About China eCapital
China eCapital is a leading investment bank in China. Founded in 2000 with headquarters in Beijing, it provides private placement, merger and acquisition (M&A), and initial public offering (IPO) advisory services. With an international background and strong local presence, China eCapital has emerged as one of the most dynamic and active players in the Chinese investment banking market. While its clients encompass a wide spectrum of industries, the firm is focused on media and entertainment, technology and internet, consumer products and services, and healthcare. More information can be found at: www.chinaecapital.com .