Biotech finance experts meet in Berlin on 11 February
On the day after the 2020 VC kick-off event, the Biotech Finance Summit was also held in Berlin. Nearly 80 CFOs and finance experts came together to discuss current developments in the sector and the financing environment for innovation in Germany. Oliver Schacht, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland and co-head of the Working Group on Finance and Taxation, and Dirk Honold, the other head of the working group, moderated the event.
Sierk Pötting, CFO of BioNTech, gave a well-regarded keynote talk on his company’s long, successful and trusting cooperation with the Strüngmann Family Office and its IPO on Nasdaq last year. Today’s success, according to Pötting, is based on the €180 million in seed financing that BioNTech received in the first six years after its founding, which allowed the company to concentrate fully on research.
Thom Rasche from Earlybird Venture Capital, who participated in the previous day’s investor panel discussion, presented a pilot project that succeeded in convincing Barmer to invest an eight-figure sum in a venture capital fund, making it the first statutory health insurance fund to do so.
Andreas Bossko reported on how therapy developers have transformed into service providers over the last 20 years. When Ribopharm was founded in 2000, the company initially focused on RNAi therapeutics. It merged with the US company Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in 2003 and was bought by Roche in 2007. After Roche stopped pursuing the technology, the present company Axolabs was formed in 2011 through a management buyout.
A panel that included Markus Rieger, Managing Director of China Investment Media GmbH and GoingPublic Media AG; Albrecht Läufer, Managing Director of BluCon Biotech; Ernst Ludes, Managing Director of CV Capital; and Albert Weber, Executive VP of Finance at Epigenomics, discussed their experiences with Chinese investors.
The event’s sponsors, Deutsche Bank, FCF Fox Corporate Finance and TVM Capital Life Sciences, also made valuable contributions to the programme. Andreas Franzen, Director of Equity Capital Markets at Deutsche Bank, gave an overview of biotech capital markets in the United States. Arno Fuchs, founder and Managing Director of FCF, presented VC financing trends in Europe’s life sciences sector. And Stefan Fischer, general partner and CFO of TVM Capital, explained to attendees what factors play a role in developing a life sciences portfolio. In addition to these sponsors, the event was also supported by Dentons and MIG Fonds.