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Posted on 31 October 2018

We understand that early-stage biotech companies do not have it easy. It is a long road from pre-clinical research to bringing a product or treatment to market. With high costs to advance a new drug or therapy and extensive work needed to obtain regulatory approval, securing investment is critical but often difficult.

Esco Ventures X have launched a fellowship programme called ‘Morphosis’ to create and nurture biotech startups. The purpose of this programme is to help aspiring bio-entrepreneurs to carve, refine and pursue their biotech innovations, in a VC environment.

The initial programme is six months long and the inaugural group consists of three fellows. In this first phase the fellows receive mentoring and training as they work to develop a feasible venture to present at the end of the six month period. Successful ventures will be incubated by Esco Ventures X over the next 12 months and projects that meet the requirements after this stage will be incorporated as a new biotech company.

Training is a core element of phase 1 and Richard Clegg, partner in our life sciences team, will be providing biotech specific IP advice to the fellows on 1 November. Patents are crucial to the success of biotech startups as in the absence of a tangible product, would-be investors consider the potential for future commercial revenue if the product or treatment makes it to market. The decision of whether or not to invest, and the scale of any investment, is based on how well the technologies that form the core of a company have been protected and this is where patents come in.

Ronne Yeo PhD, Associate at Esco Ventures, explained the idea behind the name Morphosis. “The team here came up with the name and the tagline ‘transforming ideas to innovation’. Morphosis aims to attract brilliant minds from academia, and over the course of the programme, we help to morph their minds towards the venture capital path. Our goal is to train bio-entrepreneurs and seed biotech platform startups into the Singapore ecosystem.

Find out more about Morphosis.

Richard Clegg

Contact Richard Clegg

Richard is a member of our life sciences patent team and has particular experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. He has a diverse patent practise, working closely with clients in the UK, Europe and Singapore to prepare patent applications and prosecute them to grant on a global basis. He also works with many US clients to obtain European patents before the EPO and defend them in EPO opposition/appeal proceedings. Since 2003, Richard has been heavily involved in obtaining European patents for aptamer (SELEX) technology and succeeded in obtaining grant of the very first aptamer patents in Europe. Richard also has considerable involvement with start-up and spin out companies, including transition of patent portfolios from technology transfer into nascent companies. In addition to patent prosecution, this often involves generating and implementing an ongoing freedom to operate strategy for the company and conducting IP due diligence for the purpose of helping the company raise investment. Richard has provided in-house support to some SME clients, spending time in the R&D department to spot inventions and generate new patent applications.

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