MEC in 4Q23: Pioneering the Future of Precision Medicine – More in 2024
To our MEC Community,
As we enter a new year, we believe Medical Excellence Capital (MEC) is well positioned to continue our journey towards a future where medicine evolves precisely to a completely personalized experience. Driving the art and science of Precision Medicine, defined as the practice of engineering healthcare to the individual characteristics of each patient, is at the heart of MEC’s mission. This revolutionary approach promises treatments as unique as the patients themselves, and MEC is committed to being at the forefront of making this promise a reality.
The vision of MEC was inspired directly by a patient experience with our sister company, Medical Excellence International, a company that facilitates top medical care to client families throughout the world. Founded by a client family and John Prufeta in 2020, MEC began as an investment initiative “by patients, for patients” driven by a mission to accelerate the development of innovative medicines so more patients might benefit. Today, our organization has evolved into a national venture capital firm specializing in early-stage investments in life sciences, particularly in areas that enable precision health.
The vision of MEC is grounded in the belief that solving the major problems of healthcare lies in understanding and catering to individual genetic, environmental, and lifestyle differences. This approach not only enhances the efficacy of treatments but also minimizes the risk of adverse reactions, a major limitation of traditional one-size-fits-all medicine.
For many, “let it be in 2023.” As the year 2023 is behind us, we reflect on the dynamic shifts and trends that have shaped the healthcare venture investment landscape in 2023. In this year-end recap, we’ll delve into the key market movements, our strategic navigations, and adjustments, as well as portray our continued relentless pursuit together at MEC.
Venture Investment Trends: A Comparative Analysis
This year has been particularly notable for the discernible cooling in venture investments within healthcare. According to the 2023 HSBC Annual Venture Capital Report, the industry observed a 28% decline from 2022, alongside a more pronounced 53% decrease from the high-water mark of 2021. This recalibration of investment pace is a signal of the market’s response to broader economic pressures and a shift towards more sustainable growth trajectories.
Deal Structures and Stages: An Insider Perspective
In a telling trend, insider rounds have taken a forefront position, constituting 48% of all deals made in 2023. This surge underscores the confidence investors maintain in their existing portfolios amidst a more cautious external funding environment.
Moreover, we’ve seen a downtrend in the once ubiquitous large $200M financings, with only 25 such deals materializing this past year, halving the frequency of previous years. This reflects a strategic tightening of belts and a reevaluation of investment criteria across the sector.
Series A to B: A New Clinical Stage Requirement
A significant shift in the venture landscape is the new prerequisite for Series B deals to be clinical stage. This adjustment has necessitated additional capital infusion for Series A companies to achieve the requisite development progress. Our response has been to double down on our support for these early-stage ventures, enabling them to reach these new milestones.
Exits and Acquisitions: A Mixed Picture
While IPO and private M&A activities were subdued this year, the robust public M&A of recent IPOs signals that acquirer appetite remains healthy.
MEC 2023 Milestones: Celebrating Our Achievements
This past year, we added three very exciting and potentially transformative companies to the MEC portfolio:
GC Therapeutics – GCTx uses synthetic biology to program patient-derived stem cells into any cell type with best-in-class efficiency (up to 10X), speed (up to 100X), and scalability. GCTx dictates cell fates in a single step and has validated cells for many applications.
Avilar Therapeutics – Avilar Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery and development of extracellular protein degraders, a new frontier in targeted protein degradation. Avilar develops ATACs (ASGPR Targeting Chimeras), a new class of protein degraders that shuttle disease-causing proteins from circulation to the endolysosome where the unwanted proteins are degraded. Avilar has built a proprietary discovery platform that includes novel, high-affinity, small molecule ASGPR ligands and advanced modeling of the biophysics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of ATAC-mediated endocytosis and degradation. This platform enables the modular design and synthesis of ATACs extendable across the extracellular proteome to a wide range of proteins involved in the pathogenesis of human diseases. Avilar is leveraging its ATAC platform to create a broad and diverse pipeline of first-in-class extracellular protein degraders.
Truvian – Truvian is a transformational diagnostic company bringing lab-accurate results to the point of action where consumers engage healthcare providers to lead healthier lives. With a focus on making routine blood testing accessible, convenient, and transparent, Truvian is accelerating the transition to a sustainable healthcare ecosystem through its comprehensive benchtop solution that delivers timely, actionable results to help stop disease before it starts.
2023 Memories for MEC:
- Navigating the SVB Crisis: The SVB crisis in March 2023 tested our resilience, and I am proud to say we emerged stronger, thanks to our collective expertise and swift action.
- Inaugural MEC Internship Program: From May to August 2023, we launched our first internship program. We were able to attract a very strong cadre of interns from top scientific programs and business schools. The success of this program has been a beacon, attracting fresh perspectives and invigorating our team with new ideas.
- Team Offsite in Utah: Our July 2023 gathering in Utah was not just a team-building exercise but also a brainstorming retreat that sparked numerous strategic initiatives we are currently pursuing.
- Annual Meeting Success: The Annual MEC Meeting in October 2023 was a resounding success, setting a new benchmark for LP engagement and strategic alignment.
More in 2024
As we move forward, these highlights underscore our adaptability as well as our team’s commitment to excellence and innovation. Our collective efforts have positioned MEC as a leader ready to embrace the opportunities that 2024 will undoubtedly present.
MEC’s investment strategy is unique. Unlike traditional venture capital firms, MEC’s team comprises founding CEOs and experts with deep operating and scientific roots in the healthcare and biotech sectors. This includes Managing Partners like John Prufeta, Eric Heil, Kim Kamdar, Brian Halak, and Joni Mancini, whose combined expertise spans finance, biotechnology, investing, scientific research, and compliance. Their collective experience ensures that MEC not only invests in promising biotech ventures but also nurtures them with the right blend of scientific and business acumen.
Commitment to Precision Medicine: The firm’s current portfolio includes investments across a range of cutting-edge areas, from precision diagnosis to cell therapies, gene delivery, AI applied to drug discovery and development, and precision medicines. These investments reflect MEC’s commitment to driving innovation in healthcare. For instance, Aspen Neuroscience and GC Therapeutics in cell therapy, showcase the potential of personalized treatments in addressing complex diseases.
Collaboration and Scientific Support: In addition to financial investments, MEC places a strong emphasis on collaboration and scientific support. The fund has established a world-class Scientific Advisory Board and maintains strong relationships with top academic centers and research organizations. This collaborative approach extends to its involvement with the Medical Excellence Research Innovation Trust (MERIT), a philanthropic initiative focusing on transformative biomedical research.
As we look towards the future, we believe the role of MEC in shaping precision medicine is becoming increasingly critical and significant. With its strategic investments and collaborative efforts, MEC is not just funding companies; we believe we are fueling a movement. A movement towards a future where healthcare is not just about treating diseases but about understanding and nurturing individual health in the most precise, effective way possible.
In conclusion, MEC is more than a venture capital firm; it’s a beacon of hope in the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare. Its commitment to precision medicine is not merely an investment strategy but a testament to a vision of a future where every treatment is as unique as the DNA of the patients it seeks to heal. As we embrace this new age of personalized healthcare, MEC stands at the forefront, pioneering a path towards a healthier, more personalized world.
We are excited to see what’s to come in 2024. Join us!
Medical Excellence seeks to help family offices and foundations:
- Access the world’s best medical care via Medical Excellence International (MEI).
- Invest in emerging companies pioneering new medicines via Medical Excellence Capital (MEC).
- Provide philanthropic support to fuel the next generation of scientific research via The Medical Excellence Foundation (MERIT).
We cordially invite you to learn more about ways to get involved to support the MEC vision:
- Leading Physicians/Scientists & Researchers – Apply to join our MEC Council Network: [Apply here]
- Fellow Investors – Family Offices and Institutional Investors also interested in supporting these emerging companies that want to learn more about our early-stage venture investment strategy and approach: [Click here]
- Entrepreneurs – Submit your business plan and non-confidential pitch deck here and reference the strategic fit with our core areas of focus: cell therapy, gene therapy, regenerative medicine, synthetic biology, precision medicine (tools/diagnostics), AI applied to drug discovery and development: [Click here]
The Medical Excellence Team
MEC Portfolio Highlights In the Last Quarter
Oct 19, 2023 – FDA grants Fast Track Designation to ANPD001 Autologous Investigational Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.
Nov 27, 2023 – U.S. Patent granted for Novel Extracellular Protein Degraders
Dec 4, 2023 – James Wooldridge, M.D., named as Chief Medical Officer
Oct 10, 2023 – Phase 2 Trial Results for NB-001, a treatment for neuropsychiatric symptoms, meets primary endpoint
Nov 29, 2023 – Receives Health Canada Clinical Trial Application Authorization for First Study of Prosetin in People Living with ALS
MEC’s Medical Excellence Research Innovation Trust (MERIT) is a philanthropic fund with the mission to advance translational biomedical research. Over the past quarter, we have connected with academic institutions, both in-person and virtually in the US, as well as outside of the states as we look to fund breakthrough research.
MEC Blog & Social Media
We use our MEC blog to highlight and share insights gained from our team to illuminate themes that have us excited for the future are share our perspective on the industry.
LinkedIn Post with the most impressions and activity: November 1, 2023
Exciting news! 📰 MEC portfolio company, Immunitas Therapeutics to reveal the first proof-of-concept data on our novel anti-cancer program at SITC 2023 later this week. #Immunotherapy #CancerResearch
Join our Team – We are HIRING!
Candidates interested in pursuing this opportunity should forward their resume, along with a cover letter detailing why they believe Medical Excellence Capital is a good fit. Please send it to [email protected].
MEC Network Quarterly Update
MEC is closely aligned with the global private health advisory firm Medical Excellence International (MEI). Through MEI, MEC has exclusive access to a highly selective medical research network of 1,100+ top physician/scientist leaders across 30+ major academic medical centers and research institutions in the US, as well as relationships with over 300+ family offices. Via regular screening of this trusted network, MEC has curated a unique deal flow of emerging, breakthrough technologies that are thoroughly vetted by experts as part of our MEC Council.
MEC Council in Action
Screening New Deals: During 2023, MEC logged and screened nearly 300 new deals with the help of the MEC network and our SAB.
Scientific Research Highlight This Quarter
In December 2023, MEC SAB member, Euan Ashley, and colleagues published a paper on on genetic architecture of cardiac dynamic flow volumes in Nature Genetics. They developed a deep learning system to extract cardiac flow from tens of thousands of cardiac MRIs performed as part of the UK Biobank. They used this framework to determine the genetic basis of cardiac forward flow (the output of the heart) and reverse flow (what happens when valves leak). They hope this work will inspire new approaches both to the optimization of heart function and to the early detection and treatment of aortic valve disease.
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This newsletter was prepared in good faith by MEC as of the date of this publication based upon information from sources that are believed to be reliable. The contents herein contain a description of investments made by MEC. References to any investment included herein should not be construed as a recommendation of any particular investment or security. Specific investments identified or described may not represent all of the investments completed by MEC, and the reader should not assume that the transactions discussed were or will be profitable. It should not be assumed that investments made in the future will be comparable in quality or performance to the investment described herein.
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