Life Sciences and Medical Technology
AEA’s team for medical products and life science technologies includes both highly qualified doctors and experts in the global commercialization and marketing of medical products. In addition to our own specialists we can also call on expertise available through our wide international network of professionals working in the medical and life sciences sectors.
The combination of skills AEA specialists can deploy means that we are able to assist both companies and potential investors in assessing the clinical and the commercial aspects of products under development or business strategies being proposed. AEA can assist with agreements involving technology transfer.
AEA has relationships with investors and funds, including angel and early stage investors, as well as those more appropriate to more developed or later stage companies. We can work with companies seeking to attract investors and with potential investors. Our experienced team of specialists is able to make objective assessments of what companies can offer to potential investors and make suitable introductions. We can help companies prepare properly for presentations to potential investors and we can represent them in negotiation. We are equally capable of assisting potential investors in carrying out thorough due diligence before entering into investment agreements.
Through our Hong Kong and China offices we can work with China based funds and provide services in connection with investments they may be intending to make in Colorado and elsewhere.
AEA is a member of the Colorado BioScience Association , which supports the regional bioscience community and promotes the interests of over 600 bioscience companies in Colorado.
Overview of the BioScience Industry in Colorado
- The nine-county region ranked 23rd out of the 50 largest metro areas for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology employment concentration in 2012.
- With direct employment of about 4,710 pharmaceutical and biotechnology workers, the region ranked 16th in absolute employment.
- About 88% of Colorado’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology employees worked in the nine-county region.
- About 270 pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies operated in the nine-county region in 2012.
- Nearly 71% of the region’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies employed fewer than 10 people, while 1.9% employed 250 or more.
- Approximately 78% of the region’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies were involved in biological research (45%) and pharmaceutical preparations (33%).
- More than 54% of the region’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies were located in Larimer (20%) and Boulder (18%) Counties, and in the City and County of Denver (17%).
- In 2012, the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology subcluster directly employed about 4,710 workers in the nine-county region.
- More than 64% of the region’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology employees worked in the pharmaceutical preparations industry.
- Approximately 74% of the region’s pharmaceuticals and biotechnology employees worked in Boulder (35%) and Larimer (22%) Counties, and in the City and County of Broomfield (17%).
- About 330 medical devices and diagnostics companies operated in the nine-county region in 2012.
- Approximately 56% of the region’s medical devices and diagnostics companies manufactured surgical instruments and appliances, orthopedics, and prosthetics.
- More than 54% of the region’s medical devices and diagnostics companies were located in Boulder (21%), Jefferson (19%), and Arapahoe (15%) Counties.
- The medical devices and diagnostics subcluster directly employed about 10,280 workers in the nine-county region in 2012.
- Medical devices and diagnostics companies accounted for 0.5% of the region’s total employment base, compared with a 0.3% employment concentration nationally.
- Employment growth in the region’s medical devices and diagnostics subcluster averaged 2.8% per year over the past five years. Total medical devices and diagnostics employment increased 15% between 2007 and 2012.
- More than 70% of the region’s medical devices and diagnostics employees manufactured surgical instruments and appliances, orthopedics, and prosthetics. Analytical instrument manufacturers employed another 12%.
- Approximately 73% of the region’s medical devices and diagnostics employees worked in Boulder (31%), Jefferson (30%), and Arapahoe (12%) Counties.
The metro Denver and Northern Colorado region is home to numerous public and private bioscience research and innovation assets, including:
- The Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado Denver
- National Jewish Health
- The Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
- The Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes
- The Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology
- The Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome
- The Marion Downs Hearing Center
- The Eleanor Roosevelt Institute
- The Webb-Waring Institute for Cancer, Aging, and Antioxidant Research
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-borne, and Enteric Diseases in
- Colorado State University’s (CSU) Seed Laboratory and Animal Reproduction and Biotechnology Laboratory
The University of Colorado and CSU also created a collaboration of bioscience programs to coordinate bioscience research and commercialize innovative research technologies including the Colorado Institute for Drug, Device and Diagnostic Development (CID4), the Colorado Center for Drug Discovery (C2D2), the Biofrontiers Institute (formerly the Colorado Initiative in Molecular Biotechnology, or CIMB), the Center for Computational Biology, the Center for Translational Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacogenomics, and the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology.
The bioscience cluster is further enhanced by the intersection of academic, research, and corporate biotechnology institutions at the 578-acre, $5 billion Fitzsimons Life Sciences District and the adjacent Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. The site is one of the largest bioscience redevelopment projects in the USA. It includes the 184-acre Colorado Science + Technology Park at Fitzsimons, which offers 15 pre-built laboratories and access to more than 80 core laboratories, 21 executive office suites, and many shared services and amenities. Upon completion, the entire district and medical campus will include more than 18.5 million square feet of space dedicated to excellence in bioscience, healthcare, education, and research. In 2012, the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority opened its new 37,000-square-foot accelerator facility. The $8 million facility is part of the Bioscience Park Center building expansion and is 80% leased to existing tenants graduating from the adjacent Incubator Building and other companies in the modest growth stage.
Another key partner at Fitzsimons is the $1.5 billion Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado Denver, which includes the University of Colorado Hospital, facilities for University Physicians, Inc, and houses the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, and Public Health. Located adjacent to the Anschutz Medical Campus is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eastern Colorado Healthcare System hospital and facilities. The award-winning Children’s Hospital Colorado is also adjacent to the campus and undergoing expansion.
In addition to the Bioscience Park Center Incubator, Northern Colorado also supports a network of incubators and accelerators to provide high-potential, innovation-based startups with critical business expertise and assistance. CSU’s Research Innovation Center (RIC) is a hybrid academic research facility and bioscience incubator and includes a state-of-the-art, wet research laboratory capable of manufacturing clinical-grade vaccines or biologics. The RIC works closely with the area’s other primary startup incubator, the Rocky Mountain Innosphere (RMI). The RMI is the only innovation-based startup accelerator in Northern Colorado and provides assistance with raising capital and networking opportunities. The RMI supports bioscience, technology, and cleantech ventures through its FasTrac TechVenture entrepreneurial program developed by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Northern Colorado is a growing center for bioscience activity. Opportunities for research and development already exist through synergies with the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, as well as CSU and University of Colorado Health (UC Health). UC Health has dramatically increased its capacity for clinical trials for national and local bioscience companies and has developed its own innovation capacity for surgical techniques and advancements in cancer treatment for animals. CSU’s Animal Cancer Center (ACC) is an internationally recognized leader in clinical veterinary oncology and cancer research.
The consortium of research universities and supportive bioscience programs and organizations provide a synergistic climate for the region’s thriving bioscience cluster.
- The CBSA launched the Colorado BioScience Institute—the only state institution dedicated solely to all areas of the bioscience industry—in early 2013 to provide educational and workforce programs for teachers, students, bioscience professionals, and the broader community. The Institute will create a framework to train young scientists and business entrepreneurs, as well as assist companies with the recruitment, retention, and attraction of these future bioscience employees and leaders. Further, The Institute will launch its flagship program, the BioGENEius Challenge, which will provide high school students the opportunity to compete and be recognized for outstanding research in biotechnology.
- The University of Colorado Boulder’s (CU-Boulder) Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechology Building opened in spring 2012. The 336,800-square-foot research and teaching facility will house more than 60 faculty members and accommodate more than 1,000 students and research and support staff. The facility was designed to promote increased collaboration amongst students, researchers, and faculty of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, the Division of Biochemistry, and the Biofrontiers Institute. The facility has helped attract new research funding and has been a hub connecting researchers and students to private companies, public entities, and venture capital firms interested in biotechnology opportunities.
- Nobel Laureate Tom Cech returned to CU-Boulder after 10 years as president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Cech, who shared the 1989 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with the discovery that RNA in living cells can function as a catalyst, is the director of the BioFrontiers Institute.
- More than 3,000 pharmaceutical clinical trials have been completed or are active in Colorado since 1999, according to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s 2012 study Research in Your Backyard. Additionally, more than 1,400 of the trials have targeted six major chronic disease groups including asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, and stroke.
- The Innovation Center of the Rockies (ICR) collaborates with tech transfer offices including the University of Colorado, University of Denver, and the Colorado School of Mines to create one of the largest entrepreneurial networks in the nation. ICR also partnered with CSU Ventures to accelerate the creation of new businesses and continue building the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem of university research, venture capital, and industry leadership.
- The Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority partnered with the University of Colorado Tech Transfer Office (CU TTO) and ICR to help commercialize Colorado biotech research and present the best technologies to investment professionals across the globe. ICR will develop a pilot program with CU TTO to identify research and faculty teams with near-term commercial potential and will match the best commercial opportunities with venture capital firms and potential strategic partners.
- Startup Colorado is a regional initiative to increase the breadth and depth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Colorado’s Front Range. Launched in 2011, the initiative focuses on improving access to entrepreneurial education, encouraging new company creation, increasing connections among entrepreneurs and mentors, and building a more vibrant entrepreneurial community.
- AlloSource, one of the nation’s largest providers of skin, bone, and soft tissue allografts, opened its new headquarter campus in Centennial and renovated more than half of its existing facilities. The new campus included laboratory space, testing and research facilities, clean rooms, freezer storage and supply chain support, and equipment rooms. The renovation work included freezer storage, receiving, material management, and cleaning and sterilization space.
- Four biotechnology companies moved into the Bioscience Park Center at the Fitzsimons Life Science District. The startup companies—Mitomics USA, Touch of Life Technologies, Greffex Inc., and Light Labs—are among nearly 40 firms that have opened in the Park. The companies provide products ranging from antiviral vaccines and prostate cancer diagnostics to software dissection tools and laboratory supplies.
- Lakewood-based medical device manufacturer CaridianBCT is now Terumo BCT. The Japanese medical device manufacturing company Terumo Corp. bought CaridianBCT in 2011 and will combine its transfusion products business with CaridianBCT’s blood collection and processing equipment operations. Terumo BCT is the only Terumo Corporation subsidiary with its global headquarters located outside of Japan.
- Fort Collins-based Tolmar Inc. announced plans to expand in Windsor with the purchase of the 146,000-square-foot former Packaging Corp. of America building. Tolmar—a private pharmaceutical research, development, and manufacturing company—is one of Northern Colorado’s fastest-growing businesses.
- Boulder-based Biodesix, a molecular diagnostic company developing personalized medicines, plans to hire up to 40 more employees by the end of 2013. The expansion will add to the company’s current headquarters base of about 33 employees.
- Global medical device manufacturer Covidien dedicated a new 63,000-square-foot research and development center in Boulder, one of 24 operated by the company worldwide. The facility expands Covidien’s operations in the state and is expected to house 160 employees in its 18 laboratories.
- Fort Collins-based Chata Biosystems will relocate to a larger space in Loveland to accommodate its current and future growth. The chemical solutions company’s new facility will be located near the Fort Collins–Loveland Municipal Airport and will be operational in early 2013.
- Lawrence, KS-based SurePoint Medical opened a regional office in unincorporated Douglas County. The durable medical equipment company is planning to expand and will create a number of new positions.
- Two Boulder-based biopharmaceutical companies, Array BioPharma and Clovis Oncology, collaborated to develop a compound to inhibit mutations that form gastrointestinal stromal tumors. The companies will conduct clinical trials, including a companion diagnostic, to identify patients with specific cell mutations.
- Lone-Tree based electrotherapy device manufacturer Zynex, Inc. was ranked as the seventh fastest growing medical device company in the United States and Canada and the fastest in Colorado in terms of revenue growth according to the 2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 500. The company was ranked 250th across all companies in North America in the technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and cleantech industries.
- Denver-based dialysis provider DaVita Inc. opened its second U.S. research center at the St. Anthony Central Hospital campus in Lakewood. The new 80-bed, 35,000-square-foot facility supports high-risk studies and can support both patient and healthy volunteer Phase I clinical studies, employing 58 executive and medical professionals.
A number of the region’s bioscience companies received significant awards to advance new technologies and support further research and product development.
- Boulder-based MiRagen Therapeutics secured $20 million in venture capital funding toward its development of microRNA-based therapeutics. In September 2012, MiRagen was named as one of FierceBiotech’s top 15 most promising private biotechnology companies.
- Medical device company Cerapedics Inc. received $19 million in private equity financing to accelerate development of its orthopedic bone substitutes. The Westminster-based company’s i-FACTOR peptide will enhance bone grafts for cervical spine applications and serve as an alternative to autograft and recombinant bone growth factor products.
- Boulder-based Sophono Inc. secured $7 million in funding to support new business and product development. The hearing device manufacturer will also use the funding to expand its current manufacturing facilities in Boulder.
- Surefire Medical Inc.—a Westminster-based specialized catheter device company— secured $6.1 million in venture capital and received FDA clearance for its Surefire Infusion System ST/LT and line of specialty catheters.
- Boulder-based InDevR LLC was awarded a $5.8 million grant through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop technology used to diagnose flu and other infectious diseases. InDevR will partner with GE Global Research on the project.
- The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Lakewood-based Terumo BCT a $3.5 million grant to support clinical studies involving pathogen reduction technologies including Terumo BCT’s Mirasol System that improves blood supply safety.
- Fort Collins-based VetDC received $1.5 million in private financing to advance its targeted agent VDC-1101 toward veterinary approval in canine lymphoma. The company’s molecule has shown antitumor activity in pet dogs and is one of the first FDA-approved drugs for canine lymphoma.
- Boulder-based SomaLogic, Inc. received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health program for biomarker research used in the development of tuberculosis diagnostic technologies.
- Swedish Medical Center is the first advanced care center in Colorado to use an innovative medical device to treat ischemic stroke patients faster and more efficiently. The Penumbra MAX System of Reperfusion Catheters—used in conjunction with intravenous clot-dissolving drug, t-PA—provides an improved alternative to the standard guidewire used by physicians to navigate the arteries to the brain and can treat patients within eight hours of symptom onset.
State and federal government support continuously drive new product development and innovation in the region’s bioscience cluster.
- In fiscal year 2012, Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program (BDEGP) awarded more than $5.2 million in grants to 33 projects. Since the program’s inception in 2006, 130 grants totaling about $22.1 million were distributed to research institutions and early-stage bioscience companies.
- Formed in 2009 through the BDEGP, CID4 accelerates life science discoveries and bridges the gap between research and successful product developments. The Institute serves universities, bioscience companies, academic groups, and professional associations by providing seed funding, active management, investor connections, and strategic consulting. When it launched, CID4 received $4.75 million in total funding for grants from the state of Colorado and the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority. As of 2012, CID4 had five companies in its Project Portfolio who have raised an additional $21 million in operating funds leading to 195 direct and indirect jobs.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) of 2012 is expected to positively impact Colorado’s bioscience industry and could significantly improve business planning efforts across the state.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office will locate one of four new satellite offices in Denver due to the state’s expansive culture of innovation and entrepreneurism, ability to attract high-quality professionals and technical talent, high quality of life and low cost of living, and its vast transportation infrastructure.
(Source: Metro Denver And Northern Colorado Key Industry Clusters Report, January 2013)