Two weeks ago, Optimum hosted its 14th Annual Healthcare Investor Conference and wow, what a fantastic event it was!
After two years of disruption, we were delighted to be meeting again in person. While virtual meetings have been a fantastic boon during these difficult times, nothing can beat meeting and sharing ideas and opinions face-to-face, which was a sentiment echoed by our illustrious speakers and equally esteemed attendees.
This last year has been quite a rollercoaster for the industry, with the exuberance of previous years that were buoyed by strong interest in life sciences due to the pandemic, ebbing into more challenging markets. However, time stands still for no one, and the industry is facing these with resilience and determination.
M&A, private fund raising and innovation continue and we remain excited by the constant evolution and dynamism of the sector. As always, communications play a fundamental role in amplifying the good news and rationalising the bad; never has the careful explanation of complex events been more critical to the success of market participants.
Our latest conference brought together some of the leading movers and shakers in their field, all taking part in some heated discussions – there was no holding back!
Our first panel of the day, chaired by Stephen Hansen, from BioCentury, saw a panel of blue chip private investors discussing the sustainability of the huge investment inflows that we have seen in recent years in a panel entitled: ‘Can private markets continue to drive development in Life Sciences?’
This was followed by a brilliant fireside chat between Mike Ward, Head of Thought Leadership at Clarivate, and the legendary Werner Lanthaler, Chief Executive Officer of Evotec, on Werner’s career journey and his approach to building such a successful biotech.
With public markets being particularly difficult at the moment, Hannah Kuchler, Global Pharmaceuticals Correspondent at the Financial Times, chaired an illuminating expert panel entitled ‘Financing Growth: Walking the Tightrope’, discussing what companies should do to secure the finance that is needed to drive innovation and the development of new drugs.
Finally, in times of uncertainty it is always good to hear from those who have been through the cycle a few times before. Just as the good times never last forever, neither do the bad. Amy Brown, Deputy Editor at Evaluate Vantage talked to Daniel Mahony, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Chair of the BIA, and Gareth Powell, Head of Healthcare at Polar Capital. Dan and Gareth founded the Healthcare Fund at Polar Capital back in 2007 and continue to be the leading investors for our industry. Their panel discussion did not disappoint and was loaded with frank and empowering insights.
A huge thank you once again to our outstanding speakers for taking the time to come and share their views. We were thrilled with the audience contribution on the day, questions and debate shaped the conversation in the auditorium and flowed passionately through to the networking and reception drinks in the evening. It was testament to the high quality content shared by such experienced panelists that they got us all talking so much!
Top takeaways of these sessions will feature on the Insights page on our website and through our social media channels in the coming weeks.
Hopefully, attendees managed to grab a quick chat with Chris Chaney, CEO of CW+, who talked about our featured charity Best For You. With demand for mental health support among young people spiraling, Best For You is a purpose built, user-led service that integrates the best of the NHS, third sector and local government in-person support with digital provision. With early intervention and prevention a priority, Best For You works with young people and their families in North West London to provide a tailored and easily accessible service how, when and where they need it. We encourage you to take a look at the great work they are doing on their website: https://bestforyou.org.uk/
If you haven’t already, we welcome you to share any feedback in our short survey. It all helps us to improve year on year
2023 will see us celebrating our 15th year! Until then, we very much hope you enjoyed the Conference and had ample opportunity to connect with peers and colleagues, old and new.
“I think it’s great to see venture capitalists and private equity firms showing that they want to and will deploy a lot of capital, so I think that was very encouraging from one of the panels seen here today.”
“It’s wonderful to be back in person, through the covid period it was great to use teams and zoom to catch up, but you can’t beat being face to face.”
“I think what was really interesting was we had a range of different people from different parts of the ecosystem, who were giving their thoughts on where we are in the sector right now, particularly given the economic environment and where innovation is.”
“Really enjoyed the sessions. I can see a lot of thought went into the programme and thought it was a very insightful day with high quality speakers and attendees. Great vibe.”
“May I just say what a wonderful conference you organised. We really enjoyed it and, speaking to people during and afterwards, so did everyone else. Congratulations.”