The Corporate Landscape Morphed & New Opportunities Abound

This panel discusses what strategies are employed by corporate venture capital firms for investments and partnerships with early-stage companies. Potential topics for the panel include:

  • What corporate VCs look for in companies
  • What working with a corporate VC entails
  • What companies should do to be relevant to the corporate VC

Panelists could also discuss the relationship between the corporate venture capital firm and the parent company and how it affects investment criteria.


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Andy Merken, Partner, Corporate and Securities Co-Chair, Life Sciences, Burns & Levinson

Andy is a Partner in the Corporate Group and the Venture Capital & Emerging Companies Group. He is also the Co-Chair of both the Life Sciences Group and the Securities Group. Andy focuses on business and transactional matters for a wide range of clients, with a particular concentration on Seed round and Venture Capital financings, recapitalizations, mergers & acquisitions, private equity transactions, and corporate governance.

In addition to his corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions work, Andy represents entrepreneurs, start-up and growth-stage companies, and investment banks, as well as venture capital investors, private foundations, family offices, and angel investors, in formation and structuring matters, equity and compensation, business contracts and general business advice and planning. Andy also represents C-level and R&D executives in employment matters, including equity compensation.

Andy works with clients in a variety of industries, including life sciences (biotech/biopharmaceutical, medical device, healthcare, digital health, and healthcare services), business services, software, financial services, venture capital, investment banking, consulting, legal services, consumer products, staffing, food services, real estate, and entertainment.


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Mark Ralph, Executive Director, Digital Health, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund

After completing his Master’s degree in chemistry, Mark joined Boehringer Ingelheim in 2001 as an Associate in the medicinal chemistry department. During his tenure with the company, Mark has successfully transitioned into several diverse roles. As a manager of international external resources, he led the development and implementation of processes that were responsible for increased productivity from outsourced resources in China and India. Upon completion of his MBA (Finance) in 2009, Mark took a new role as a finance manager in the prescription medicine controlling group, in which, he provided fiscal guidance to brand teams in the planning and execution of direct promotion budgets. In his current position, Mark is responsible for leading cross functional teams in the identification and evaluation of new discovery stage platform technologies. Through the management of the research and development contracts group, he is also responsible for leading the negotiation of strategic partnerships with universities and evaluation studies with biotechnology companies and contract research organizations.

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Lana Ghanem, Managing Director, Hikma Ventures

Lana is the Managing Director of Hikma Ventures which she helped establish in 2015. Lana started her career at Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC in 2012 as the Assistant to the CEO and Director of Corporate Strategy & Development where she worked on strategic projects across the company’s various functions including strategy, M&A, operations and finance. Prior to joining Hikma, Lana worked as a Financial Analyst in the Mergers and Acquisitions department at Dresdner Kleinwort Investment Bank in London where she worked on transactions for clients across multiple industries. Currently, Lana heads the Innovation & Leadership Advisory Board (ILAB) at Hikma which consists of young Hikma employees whom share a dedication to advancing Hikma and ensuring it is at the frontier of innovation. 

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Tom Gibbs, Director, Debiopharm Innovation Fund

Dr Gibbs received his BSc in Applied Biology from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology, and earned his Ph.D. in Microbial Genetics at the University of Warwick. He has spent more than two decades in the commercialization of life science technologies, split equally between the pharmaceutical industry and scientific tool developers. He has been responsible for a wide range of activities including quality assurance, operations, late-stage product development and marketing, and increasingly business development. Dr. Gibbs has broad experience in both start-ups (Cytion, Covalys, Med Discovery) and more established companies (Delta Biotechnology, Molecular Devices, Debiopharm) in Europe and the USA. He joined Debiopharm International SA in 2012.