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“I am optimistic that more female entrepreneurs will experience success in raising capital”

Nordic Life Science asked Lene Gerlach, Partner, Eir Ventures, about her predictions for 2024, including market trends, financing opportunities for SMEs and business strategy advice.

What do you predict will be the dominant market trend within life sciences this year?

“In the broader perspective, the market trend is steadily shifting towards prioritizing disease prevention over treatment. We are transitioning to a future where illness is less tolerated, and replaced by a demand for proactive monitoring and preventive healthcare measures. This indicates a sustained emphasis on cell and gene therapies, alongside the advancement of novel biomarkers and wearable technologies for continuous health monitoring.”

We are transitioning to a future where illness is less tolerated, and replaced by a demand for proactive monitoring and preventive healthcare measures.”

“For 2024, I am hoping for a greater commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in treatment access and an increased emphasis on women’s health.”

When it comes to opportunities for finding funding or financing, what’s your outlook?

“I believe that companies that prioritize innovation, cutting-edge technologies and foster academic and industrial collaborations are likely to have the greatest chance of success, while companies highly dependent on global logistics can be challenged due to the geopolitical situation.”

Although we are area agnostic, we prefer oncology, orphan diseases, inflammation and infectious diseases, as well as cardiovascular and lung diseases.”

“At Eir Ventures, we have a focus on drug development companies and to a lesser extent medtech and AI healthcare. We are currently looking for clinical-stage companies that will obtain efficacy data within the next 2-4 years. Although we are area agnostic, we prefer oncology, orphan diseases, inflammation and infectious diseases, as well as cardiovascular and lung diseases.”

What are some of your basic criteria to invest capital in a company? What factors will you consider especially important this year?

“Eir Ventures is very focused on companies with innovative technologies and transformative therapeutic approaches having science-intensive entrepreneurs. Protective intellectual property is essential, as well as attractive market opportunities.”

What strategies can Nordic life science SMEs use to keep the lights on until funding for the sector improves?

“With abundant capital remaining in the pharmaceutical and venture capital sectors, it is crucial for Nordic life science companies to maintain a competitive technology and cost-optimized strategy towards exit. This involves having a strong, differentiated product or technology, while also ensuring operational efficiency.”

“To maximize their chances of success, companies should prioritize streamlining their research and development plans, focusing on essential activities, and avoiding “nice-to-have” endeavors.”

What do you predict when it comes to M&A activity in the Nordic life science industry this year?

“Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are expected to rise as big pharma companies approach a patent cliff by the end of 2028, necessitating the replacement of revenue sources. The loss of exclusivity for major pharmaceutical companies underscores the need to fill their pipeline, leading them to seek out late-stage assets.”

M&As are expected to rise as big pharma companies approach a patent cliff by the end of 2028, necessitating the replacement of revenue sources.”

Anything you would like to add when it comes to predicting the Nordic life science financial landscape 2024?

“I am optimistic that more female entrepreneurs will experience success in raising capital, as the current statistics are disproportionately unfavorable when it comes to female founders. According to World Economic Forum female-founded companies received only 2% of all global venture capital in 2022, which shows a pressing need for change and greater support for female entrepreneurs.”

I am optimistic that more female entrepreneurs will experience success in raising capital, as the current statistics are disproportionately unfavorable when it comes to female founders.”

“At Eir Ventures, 50% of our portfolio companies have at least one female founder and 66% of our companies have gender diversity in top management, which leads to better innovation and commercial performance.”

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