Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jessica Hanover of ATI Bioscience Talks about Moving to Austin

Where are you from?

I moved here from San Francisco. I had been working at a medical device company in Redwood City in California so when we moved here I thought I would do the same. There are several medical device companies in particular orthopedic companies here. After talking with Isaac Barchas, I decided to take up the position in the ATI.

What medical device company was that?

It was called FoxHollow and we developed and marketed an atherectomy catheter that essentially shaves plaque out the arteries in the leg and physically removes the plaque from the body. It was acquired by another company.

Where did you go to school?

I did my undergraduate work at Harvard and my graduate work at University of California at San Francisco. I met my husband while doing my PhD work in neurobiology. We lived in Chicago for awhile.

What did you think of that?

It was cold. We left because it was too cold. After three years we moved back to California. That was one of our criteria for moving. It couldn’t be cold. So tell me about CTAN.

We have 50+ members. It‘s a member-led group. We have 6 rounds of deal flow this year which includes a screening meeting and a presentation meeting. Every member writes their own check for how much they want to. We do have a Life Science subgroup which includes about 8 people with experience in the life science field. They preview the deals and make recommendations on which ones to recommend to the screening meeting.

What kind of deals does CTAN see?

We get a wide variety including medical devices, therapeutics, healthcare IT and more. We have a funding raise limit of $2M or less so that cuts out a number of therapeutics because they’re way beyond that level. Also, we see a number of electronic medical record deals but that’s pretty much a non-starter with the group because it’s a competitive space with large players in a changing regulatory environment. We do see a number of life science deals from San Antonio and Houston as syndicated deals.

So how many life science deals do you see?

We collected ten over the summer to preview. We get 5 more a quarter from San Antonio and Houston. Where do you think the life science growth opportunity is here in Austin?

The medical device sector is strong here. The diagnostics and tool companies are a key opportunity – such as LabNow. I think UT is a rich resource that we should explore more. I’ve talked with the CEO’s of many companies. They wish there was a bigger ecosystem here for life science companies. I bet in five years we’ll see many more companies here in the life science area.

What about bioinformatics?

I haven’t thought about it as much. What do you see?
Applied Biosystems bought Ambion and then moved their bioinformatics arm to Austin because of the rich software resources here in town. Just a thought.

Best regards,
Hall T.

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