By Alex Ludlum
Seventy-nine companies and a host of investors and market analysts descended on the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City to participate in the OneMedFinance Forum, our first conference held on the East Coast.
Hailing from countries as disparate as Australia, Switzerland and the Netherlands, representatives of emerging healthcare and life sciences companies met to connect with investors and strategic partners, to network and to survey new-comers to their industries. Though selected in order to give a platform to lesser recognized businesses, the companies presenting demonstrated the vast diversity of the healthcare and life science spaces. Many were in the clinical stages of development, such as Cytochroma of Ontario, a pharmaceutical company with an advanced portfolio of new therapies to treat vitamin D deficiency, while others were publicly traded, multi-national corporations such as NeoStem Inc., which operates in the United States and China. In addition, leaders of the academic medical world, including professors and chairmen of Columbia University, the Weill Cornell Medical Center and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, attended the conference.
The OneMedForum NY started on June 29th with an invitation-only session on Healthcare Consumerism and Health Saving Accounts, with presentations by Roy Ramthun, a former advisor to President George W. Bush who helped create HSAs in 2004; Donald Mazzella, the COO of Information Strategies, Inc.; and James Gandolfo, a Senior Director and Vice President of PFPC. Though each came equipped with his own data and insights, all agreed that HSAs would continue growing in the near future. As Ramthun noted, “Health reform will have a modestly positive impact on the growth of these plans,” citing Congress’s universal mandate as a likely impetus for growth. Mazzella was more enthusiastic, predicting that “2010 will be a blockbuster year for HSA’s.”
Later in the afternoon an opening panel discussion was held on “Accessing New Sources of Capital,” with an emphasis on international fundraising, led by partners of a variety of venture and private equity firms from Israel, the European Union, and the United States.
For many attendees, June 30th was the main event, featuring company presentations throughout the day, in addition to various panel discussions and workshops. “I’ve met very interesting companies, the panel was interesting, [and I] met many VCs that we can collaborate with,” said Elka Nir from Giza Venture Capital. “I saw several medical devices companies that seemed to be interesting in the space of cardiology.”
The day began with an overview on the criteria for FDA approval, and was followed by workshops on topics such as Licensing and Intellectual Property, Trade Commercialization, Reimbursement Analysis and Legal Advisory.Throughout the day, participants met between presentations in two breakout rooms to network and trade insights on a more personal level. “Terrific conference. I was quite impressed with the crowd. After my presentation I was approached by 5 different investment sources, including a couple of non-traditional, which I found very interesting. I also made some very useful contacts. I look forward to your next event,” said Shan Padda, CEO of Health Integrated.
During lunch, Brett Johnson, CEO of OneMedPlace & OneMedForum Founder, urged attendees to combine their expertise in order to address the dysfunction of the current U.S. healthcare system, proposing an aggregated, online discussion of healthcare professionals to tackle the changing issues and regulations. Listen to the panel at http://www.onemedplace.com/forum/files/onemedforum_bjohnson_address.mp3.
Following lunch, company presentations continued through the afternoon, well attended by investors and other industry professionals. At five o’clock, participants unwound on the hotel’s rooftop bar, where the exchange of ideas continued until nightfall. “I want to thank everyone for their attention and ideas,” said Willem van Weperen, CEO of to-BBB Technologies, late in the day. “And if you have anything else to say, I’ll be talking until I fly back to Amsterdam.”