What is the difference between a nice idea and an investible idea?

On 22 April, our ‘Biotechs and the City’ event, hosted by Nasdaq, welcomed over 80 delegates who were treated to an in depth discussion on strategies to help lifescience companies get from an idea to an IPO or successful exit.

What follows is the first of 3 summaries from the evening panel discussion.


  • Maina Bhaman, Director of Healthcare Investments, Imperial Innovations
  • Ajan Reginald, CEO,Cell Therapy Ltd.
  • Asaf Homossany, Managing Director, EMEA, Nasdaq
  • David Gough,Executive Director, Biomedical and Healthcare, NetScientific
  • Dr Alastair Riddell, Chairman, Silence Therapeutics and Chairman, DefiniGEN
  • Cailin McGurk, Executive Director, Healthcare Investment Banking,JP Morgan

The science has got to be great.

We asked the panellists what the first thing is they look for in an investment. David Gough replied:

‘The first thing that I look for is the depth of science. The second thing that we would look for is validation of science.’

All agreed the quality of the science and data was essential.

There needs to be enough of a market opportunity.

Maina pointed out that science is not enough, however.

‘An investible idea needs to have a significant market opportunity that is demonstrable’

You have a truly differentiated product that is patent protected.

Once it gets to market it has to be truly different from what else is out there. If a founder can demonstrate how it the technology is unique it stands a much better chance of being investible.

Ajan notes:

‘It’s got to be a highly differentiated product, it’s got to be first in class or best in class, and it’s got to be patent protected’

Quality People

This is probably the most important aspect of a successful investment. You have to have the quality people, or you have to know you can find the people to ensure it gets to market.

As Alastair pointed out:

‘What’s really key when you are talking face to face with people who are going to give you money is the quality of your people and their ability to do a business plan that makes sense and can generate a return pattern over the timelines that you are interested.’

A vision

Science, market opportunity, a unique product and great management still may not be enough. You need to be able to sell a vision. Alastair muses:

‘What investors invest in is not just quality management and technology but the ambition of those people. Because what you have to sell when you’re raising money is the future.’

What you will learn from the next two pieces in this summary:

  • Where should biotechs or healthcare companies list and why?
  • How to achieve a successful exit

If you want to attend our next scheduled Biotechs and the City event on 1st July, from 6pm - 10pm click below.


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