Martin Heidecker of Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund talks about their interest in science platform technologies and early stage investments




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Video title: Martin Heidecker of Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund talks about their interest in science platform technologies and early stage investments
Released on: June 01, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Martin Heidecker, Director of Global Business Analysis at Boehringer Ingelheim
Objectives of the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund
Fintan Walton:
Welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BioTrinity 2011. On this show I have Martin Heidecker, who is Investment Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Ventures, welcome.
Martin Heidecker:
Hello Fintan, it's my pleasure to be here.
Fintan Walton:
So Boehringer Ingelheim has just recently set up this corporate venture arm to it, could you describe when was set up, what the size of the fund is and its overall objectives?
Martin Heidecker:
Okay, I mean actually Boehringer Ingelheim fund was very recently set up, so we went operative in March last year, so we are one-year young now and the objective is clear strategic objective so our parent company Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals which is the biggest family owned pharmaceutical business in the world wanted to get access to innovation by seeding this funds. We got a 100 million Euros and we have the clear objective to invest this 100 million Euros into indications in which our parent company is not active yet, so going beyond what our parent companies deliver this is what we shall do.
Types of Investments
Fintan Walton:
Right, and obviously as you say you are being going for a year what sort of investments? Have you started to make investments?
Martin Heidecker:
We actually made one investment so far and that's Rome Basel based vaccine company so they are doing vaccines and they are using an adenovirus vector platform which was derived from monkeys. Our first investment we did and we currently have several other promising opportunities on the table so we are having a closer look at that, we hope to close the second and third deal soon.
Co-investment with corporate venture arms
Fintan Walton:
Okay that's good, so you said it's a strategic operation so that in the interest of the parent company, you obviously would co-invest with other venture capitalist and also other corporate venture arms other pharmaceutical companies?
Martin Heidecker:
Absolutely and also in our first investment there has been corporate venture funds as well as institutional investors and we joined the syndicate together with an institutional investor so we are open to any co-investing company.
Identification of opportunities
Fintan Walton:
Okay and how do you find opportunities are those do they come through the Boehringer Ingelheim current operations or do you get introduced to opportunities from other investors?
Martin Heidecker:
I mean there is various sources I would say, first of all we have our website which is open and running since one year and if you look by numbers I think most of the opportunities are coming via our website. I have to say it's not the best quality, but it's coming through via our website that's why we build up networks and we were intensively doing that in the last 12-months so we visit other institutional as well as corporate investors and we go to meetings like BioTrinity, like BioEquity and we also have an internal network of course our colleagues from collaborative research or licensing also provide us with deals.
Early stage Vs late stage investments
Fintan Walton:
Right, and the type of companies that you are investing in, in terms of your intent to invest are you looking just at early stage companies, companies that are in already got products in clinical phase have you got any restrictions in other words?
Martin Heidecker:
We have objectives and our objective is to go as early as possible so we even try to directly contact university organizations, professors where we believe they make promising science and we could try to set up companies with them actively. We try to establish contacts through tech transfer offices from universities, but of course we also invest or willing to invest in later state companies our first investment again Okairos they were in Phase II with their lead candidate when we invested so this was a Series B typically we would like to go earlier, I think we as a corporate pharma backed venture fund can allow us to a little bit wait more and to have a little bit more patience and we are interested very much in science platform technologies this is early companies we try to invest as early as possible it can even be a pre-seeds round that we would like to join, we can be in the lead or taking the co-lead, we are open to everything and that's how we try to find innovative businesses.
Opportunities outside Europe
Fintan Walton:
Right, and in terms of where those investments are, I mean obviously you're headquarters are in Germany and European based, are you looking at opportunities outside Europe?
Martin Heidecker:
We definitely doing, North America for sure is big area and we receive a lot of our deal flow is coming from North America also Europe of course I mean due to the fact we have five people managing those 100 million and we are all based in Europe so most of our deal flow, I would say may be its 50-50 US and Europe we also see some opportunities from Australia, New Zealand or Japan so far we didn't invest there and I think it will take some time for us until we can invest there we keep saying we have a worldwide focus, but practically it's more North America and Europe.
Nature of fund
Fintan Walton:
The nature of the fund it's an evergreen fund or is it what's the expectations of your investors?
Martin Heidecker:
I would say the expectation of our investors first of all is that we find good science and we invest in good science, we believe we strongly do believe that good science at the end will pay out, so there will be financial returns and we intend to have this fund as an evergreen fund so we would like to reinvest our profits from previous investments that's basically how we have set up. So I think the expectations from our parent company is first access to good science and secondly of course financial returns.
Deal strategy
Fintan Walton:
And would success in your view be the fact that Boehringer Ingelheim actually then takes the products from that particular company through license or through acquisition?
Martin Heidecker:
I think that would be an ideal deal, okay. We will definitely I think in most of the cases have a minority stake in those companies it's a free market and other pharma companies or other companies will take up our portfolio companies we are happy with that, I mean for us it's important that the good science will make it to the market ideally it's our parent company which is profiting from that if it's another pharma company it's also good.
Fintan Walton:
So in a sense you could end up competing with the other corporate venture arms to acquire or get rights to a particular product?
Martin Heidecker:
Yes, I think it's competing I mean I think every good science or every good product has a price and the company who is at the end willing to pay the most the highest price will basically make the deal, I think that's we are living in the free market and that's how it is.
Future investment plans
Fintan Walton:
So just you are a year old what do you see happening now in the next over the next 12 months?
Martin Heidecker:
What I see in the next 12 months is that we do another three to four investments in that next 12 months, we continue to do so for the next two to three-years then hopefully we will have the first returns alternatively we will have to ask for more funding and then I do hope that our portfolio companies and the portfolio that we will build up will meet our expectations in science and in products at the end.
Fintan Walton:
Martin Heidecker, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Martin Heidecker:
Thank you Fintan, it was my pleasure talking to you.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Martin Heidecker
Investment Manager
Martin Heidecker currently serves as Investment Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Ventures. Martin Heidecker has been working at Boehringer Ingelheim since 2007 in a Senior Business Analyst and later in a Director capacity within the Global Business Analysis department. His responsibility incorporated all global strategic Marketing support in the arena of CNS and women's health. This remit was later extended to include responsibility for the global Oncology Business Analysis as well. Prior to joining BI, Martin Heidecker held several positions within the global Business Intelligence Department of Solvay Pharmaceuticals focusing primarily on compounds in early clinical stages. From 2002 " 2005 Martin worked as an investment manager at Bayern Kapital. During this time he led co-investments in early stage drug development, medical devices, and bioinformatic companies. Martin Heidecker holds Master's degrees in Biology and Economics. In his Ph.D thesis he was focusing on membrane transport proteins.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Boehringer Ingelheim Ventures
Boehringer Ingelheim Ventures was formed in March 2010 and invests in biotechnology and start-up companies that provide ground-breaking therapeutic approaches and technologies to help drive innovation in medical science. These may include - but are not limited to "novel technologies to address undrugable targets, new- generation vaccines and new biological entities, such as antibody-dependent oncolysis. Novel therapeutic targets and disease-related biomarkers, as well as new approaches in regenerative medicine, are an additional focus.