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Life Sciences & Technology News


04/25/2017

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2017 Venture Capital Investment – First Quarter Update


U.S. venture capital (VC) investment rebounded slightly in Q1 2017 after a fourth quarter slide to close out 2016. Q1 2017 deal count rose by nearly 18%, while dollars invested grew by over 15%, versus Q4 2016. Despite the promising first quarter performance, recent venture activity has struggled to return to 2015’s record levels.

04/05/2017

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Highlights from the 2017 InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum


On March 28 and 29, the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum was held in Kansas City, Missouri. The event featured several dozen early stage companies pitching to investors and was a great opportunity to showcase emerging companies in the life sciences, technology and food and ag-tech industries. The 2017 conference highlighted all of the startup and innovation activity occurring throughout the Midwest. RubinBrown attended the event, sitting in on the “Food/Ag/Bioenergy” track.

03/02/2017

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2016 AgTech Investment


Global venture capital (VC) investment cooled off in 2016, following 2015’s record high levels. Overall VC deal flow slowed nearly 25%, while dollars invested dropped 10%. Poor IPO performance and political uncertainty drove a hesitant fourth quarter, rounding out the down year. The agtech industry was impacted by the global VC decline, yet we see reasons to be optimistic.

01/30/2017

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2016 Venture Capital Investment – A Year in Review


Following a banner year in 2015, venture capital (VC) activity returned to a more normalized level in 2016. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ and CBInsights’ MoneyTree™ Report, VC investment in the United States dropped 20% in 2016 to $58.6 billion, down from $73.4 billion in 2015. Deal count decreased to 4,520, down 16% from 2015’s 5,409 deals. Average deal size during 2016 declined roughly $.5 million year-over-year, but is still up nearly $2.4 million compared to 2014.

12/19/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Staying Safe - The Ins & Outs of IRC 409A Safe Harbor Provisions


Equity based deferred compensation can be a great tool for companies looking to attract, retain and incentivize talent. It is especially potent for early stage companies who may not have the funding or cash flow to pay its employees at a market rate. Use of deferred equity compensation, such as stock options and stock appreciation rights (SARs) does carry some risk.

11/10/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Precision Ag Improves Farm Profitability


A report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, looked at adoption rates for precision agriculture (PA) to investigate PA adoption and its impact on profitability.

10/17/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2016 Venture Capital Investment – Third Quarter Update


Third quarter 2016 U.S. venture capital (VC) results show a continuation of the downward trend in VC activity that started in mid-2015. Both investment and deals were down this quarter, with amounts invested dropping significantly, down 32% from the prior quarter and down 36% year-over-year. Third quarter investment of $10.6 billion was the lowest level of investment since the third quarter of 2014.

09/15/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Highlights from the 2016 Ag Innovation Showcase


On September 12, 13 and 14, 2016, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center hosted the 2016 Ag Innovation Showcase. There was a ton of great programming, sessions, and company presentations. Here are some of the highlights.

08/16/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: First Half 2016 AgTech Funding Highlights


AgFunder’s “AgTech Investing Report – Mid-Year 2016” was recently released. Here are some of the highlights we gleaned from the report.

07/21/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2016 Venture Capital Investment – Second Quarter Update


U.S. venture capital (VC) results for the second quarter present a mixed picture. On the one hand, capital raised increased significantly from Q1 2016, up 20% to $15.3 billion.

05/04/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2016 Venture Capital Investment – First Quarter Update


U.S. venture capital (VC) investment was $12.1 billion in Q1 2016, up 1% over Q4 2015, but down 11% when compared to Q1 2015. On a national level, the slowdown in venture activity that began in the second half of 2015 (2015 Venture Capital Investment: Year in Review) appears to be continuing. Venture activity peaked in Q2 2015 and has steadily decreased since then.

04/06/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Highlights from the 2016 InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum


On March 23 and 24, 2016, the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum was held in downtown St. Louis. The event featured dozens of early stage companies pitching to venture capital investors and was a great opportunity to showcase emerging companies in the life sciences, technology, and food/agriculture/bioenergy industries.

02/11/2016

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2015 Venture Capital - A Year in Review


In 2015, venture capital (VC) investment reached its highest level since 2000 (but deal count dropped slightly from 2014). According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ and the National Venture Capital Association’s MoneyTree™ Report, VC investment in the United States increased 16% in 2015 to $58.8 billion, up from $50.8 billion in 2014 (See our 2014 Year in Review)

11/17/2015

RubinBrown and the CORTEX Innovation Community—1 Year Later


RubinBrown recently celebrated the one year anniversary of its CORTEX Innovation Community office opening. RubinBrown officially opened its satellite office at CIC in the @4240 building in October 2014.

10/21/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2015 Venture Capital Investment - Third Quarter Update


Venture capital (“VC”) investment experienced pull back in the third quarter, following an exceptional second quarter in 2015 and an overall remarkable year so far.

10/05/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Considerations for the Valuation of Early Stage Entities – Part 3


Part 3 of the series covers specific valuation approaches that can be utilized for early stage companies.

09/21/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Highlights from the 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase


On September 14-16, 2015 the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center hosted the 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase. Here are the highlights we took away from the event.

08/28/2015

Key Takeaways from Attract Funding: Stand Out in Front of St. Louis Venture Capitalists


On Thursday, August 27, RubinBrown hosted a panel of St. Louis venture capitalists at Venture Café. Steven Harris, Partner-In-Charge of RubinBrown’s Entrepreneurial Services Group, facilitated a panel discussion featuring Jennifer Ehlen of Prosper Capital, Carter Williams from iSelect Fund, Kyle Welborn from Cultivation Capital and Scott Bernstein of Lewis & Clark Ventures.

The following are highlights from what was a great, interactive discussion.

08/07/2015

Focus on State and Local Taxation:  Nevada Commerce Tax Enacted and Modified Business Tax Amended


Governor Sandoval signed legislation enacting a commerce tax based on gross revenue assigned to the state of Nevada.  This annually collected tax applies to entities engaged in business in Nevada who have over $4 million of Nevada gross revenue in the fiscal year of July 1st through June 30th. 

07/30/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2015 Venture Capital Investment - Second Quarter Update


Venture capital (VC) investment experienced the strongest quarter in terms of dollars invested since the fourth quarter of 2000, after an exemplary first quarter and an overall remarkable 2014 as both dollars invested and number of deals reached levels not seen in over a decade.

05/20/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Considerations for the valuation of early stage entities – Part 2


In Part 1, we talked about what questions should be answered to help frame the valuation. Identifying the purpose, perspective, and audience will help you establish the type of valuation needed and the appropriate level of effort.

04/30/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2015 Venture Capital Investment - First Quarter Update


Venture capital (“VC”) investment experienced pull back in the first quarter, following an exceptional 4nd quarter last year and an overall remarkable 2014 as both dollars invested and number of deals reached levels not seen in over a decade  (see our 2014 Venture Capital Investment: Year in Review).  According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers / National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree™ Report, VC activity in the United States decreased about 10% in the first quarter of 2015 to $13.4 billion, down from $14.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014.  Although, a substantial decrease from the fourth quarter, market participants can still be optimistic as activity in the first quarter is up 26% year-over-year.

02/02/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Considerations for the Valuation of Early Stage Entities – Part 1


You’ve probably heard this before, but valuation is both an art and a science. The type of asset, the nature of the valuation, and the purpose of the valuation will dictate how much of that blend is weighted towards art or science.

01/22/2015

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2014 Venture Capital Investment - A Year in Review


Venture capital activity soared in 2014, with both deals and dollars reaching levels not seen in over a decade.

12/12/2014

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Implement IP Best Practices As You Turn Innovation Into Commercialization


Turning intellectual capital, i.e., what’s in your brain, into intellectual property (“IP”), i.e., a legally protected, transferable asset is not cheap. Organizations invest time, focus and capital to protect innovation through patents, trade secrets and other means.

10/23/2014

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2014 Venture Capital Investment Q3 Update


Venture capital (“VC”) investment experienced pull back in the third quarter, following an exceptional second quarter and a robust first half of 2014. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers / National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree™ Report, VC activity in the United States decreased about 24% in the third quarter to $9.9 billion, down from $13.0 billion in the second quarter.

09/24/2014

Focus on Life Sciences:  RubinBrown Selected To Perform Life Sciences Census Project


RubinBrown is proud to announce that it has been selected by the Heartland Civic Collaborative (“HCC”), in collaboration with BioKansas, Bio Nebraska, BioSTL, IowaBio, Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, Inc., and MOBIO, to perform a census of life science assets in the four state region comprised of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

08/12/2014

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: Internal Controls


As your start-up or early stage company grows, and you begin adding team members to the employee roster, it is worth considering your internal control environment to ensure that you are protecting the company and its prospects for long-term success.

07/21/2014

Focus on Life Sciences & Technology: 2014 Venture Capital Investment Q2 Update


Venture capital (“VC”) investment gained steam in the second quarter, building upon an already robust start in the first quarter of 2014. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers / National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree™ Report, VC activity in the United States increased about 37% in the second quarter to $13.0 billion, up from $9.5 billion in the first quarter.

05/15/2014

Focus on Life Sciences: 2014 Venture Capital Investment Q1 Update


Venture capital (“VC”) investment increased in the first quarter of 2014. According to the MoneyTree™ Report, a collaboration between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, VC activity in the United States increased about 12% in the first quarter to $9.5 billion, up from $8.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

04/21/2014

Focus on Life Sciences: Generating Value Through IP-Backed Financing


ATTENTION IP OWNERS: Your ability to unlock value through intellectual property (IP) backed financing is increasing. Lenders are becoming more willing to use IP as collateral in secured lending again.

02/26/2014

Focus on Life Sciences: Public-Private VC Partnerships Creating Investment, Innovation and Jobs in Life Sciences & Technology


By having a presence in Missouri, Kansas and Colorado, RubinBrown has a front row seat to observe the success that not-for-profit organizations are having creating jobs and promoting economic development in the life sciences and technology industries. Three of these organizations are quasi-governmental entities designed to create an extensive network of resources for start-up companies and promote innovation and entrepreneurship. With guidance and support from these organizations, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado are becoming premier locations for start-up life sciences & technology companies.

02/03/2014

Focus on Life Sciences: 2013 Venture Capital Investment: A Year in Review


Venture capital (“VC”) investment increased in 2013, both in amounts invested and in deals made. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ and National Venture Capital Association’s MoneyTree™ Report, VC activity in the United States increased by about 7.5% in 2013 to $29.4 billion in VC investment, up from $27.3 billion in 2012.

12/19/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: Intellectual Property as Loan Collateral – Primer to a Growing Form of Asset-Backed Borrowing


The exposure and press dedicated to the use of intellectual property as loan collateral has increased dramatically in recent years. This article highlights similarities and differences between IP-based lending and traditional forms of lending, possible reasons for the growth in IP-based lending, and recent high-profile examples of loans secured by intellectual property.

11/18/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: Intellectual Property – Patent Demands, Venture Capital, and IP Legislation: Part 2


Intellectual Property ("IP") and innovation is becoming increasingly important to the U.S. economy, a key reason why IP and IP litigation is getting significant attention recently.

Part 1 of this article highlighted two separate reports focusing on patent demands and the potential consequences. Key takeaways from these reports were that litigation by patent assertion entities ("PAEs" or "patent trolls") is not insignificant, has recently increased in frequency, and seems to be particularly concentrated within the technology and life sciences industries. Separate reports have found that abusive litigation by PAEs limits investment in start up companies and reduces innovation. If true, it is reasonable to infer that constraints on innovation have ripple effects throughout the broader economy.

11/11/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: Intellectual Property – Patent Demands, Venture Capital, and IP Legislation: Part 1


The U.S. economy is becoming more reliant on innovation to drive growth. Patenting for example, is correlated with high productivity growth, lower unemployment, and business creation.1 Strong intellectual property ("IP") rights, like patents, are critical to incentivizing innovation and ensuring that capital flows to support innovative activity. As a result, the prosecution and litigation of patents have taken center stage in IP strategies and discussions.

10/07/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: The FASB to Propose Improvements to Financial Reporting for Development-Stage Entities


The Financial Accounting Standards Board recently announced plans to issue an exposure draft in the coming weeks with proposals to improve financial reporting about public and private development-stage entities, easing the requirements for revenue recognition and measurement and other areas.

09/09/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: Midwest Focusing on STEM Education to Help Attract and Support Life Sciences Companies


Life sciences companies thrive in regions that emphasize the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. States within the Midwest are focusing on improving STEM education, recognizing that a workforce with STEM talent helps attract businesses to the region and helps existing businesses remain competitive. The development of STEM talent begins with the education system and requires collaboration between business leaders, educators, and the government.

06/13/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: White House Task Force Releases Patent Initiatives


On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, the White House issued an initiative on patent issues designed to facilitate continued innovation and help ensure the continued development and delivery of high-quality patents in the United States.

05/13/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: U.S. Supreme Court's Unanimous Ruling Supports Monsanto's Patent Rights


On Monday, May 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Bowman v. Monsanto Co. et al. that Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman infringed upon Monsanto's patents by planting soybean seed containing Monsanto's technology outside the scope of an executed technology license agreement signed by Mr. Bowman.

03/22/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: MOSIRA Passage Ruled Unconstitutional by Missouri Supreme Court


On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a February 2012 Cole County court ruling that the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act ("MOSIRA") was not properly passed by the Legislature because of language that made its implementation contingent upon the passage of another bill.

01/31/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: The Importance of Intellectual Property Protections in the Plant Sciences Industry


Intellectual property ("IP") can be a source of significant change in an industry. The innovation that flows from new inventions, processes, or designs can have a tremendous impact on the direction and growth of industries. Of equal importance are the protections that creators place on their IP. IP protections help establish a framework that provides incentives to innovate.

01/08/2013

Focus on Life Sciences: Provisions of New Tax Legislation Affect Life Sciences


On January 1, 2013, the Senate and House of Representatives passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which the President signed into law on January 2, 2013.

10/16/2012

Focus on Life Sciences: Valuation Issues Unique to Life Sciences Companies


Companies in the Life Sciences industry require valuations for various reasons: transactions (raising investment funds, compensating employees, licensing intellectual property, etc.), tax purposes, financial reporting, or litigation purposes.

09/13/2012

Focus on Life Sciences: Implications of the Current U.S. Drought


The United States is experiencing a drought of historic proportions, and despite recent precipitation brought on by Hurricane Issac's landfall, there is no end in sight. The current drought has far-reaching implications, many of which are yet to be felt by U.S. consumers and businesses.

08/08/2012

Focus on Life Sciences: Revisiting Missouri's Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth


In 2010, the state of Missouri initiated a strategic planning process to assist in mapping the direction of, and investment in, the economic future of the state.

06/27/2012

Focus on Life Sciences: Kansas Tax Relief Measures


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently signed one of the largest tax relief measures in Kansas history. At the heart of the tax changes is a reduction of individual tax rates and a shift from a three-bracket to a two-bracket system.

06/12/2012

Focus on Life Sciences: Funds Flow into Renewable Energy Projects


According to recent reports, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will invest more than $40 billion over the next decade into renewable energy projects.

03/30/2012

Focus on Life Sciences: New Excise Tax on Medical Devices


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Educational Reconciliation Act of 2010 will impose a new tax on medical devices. The new tax goes into effect January 1, 2013.

02/15/2012

Focus on Life Sciences: Protect Your Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets


According to the US Trade Administration and the US Department of Commerce, Companies in the United States lose between 200 and 250 billion dollars from intellectual property (IP) and more broadly intangible asset (IA) theft every year.

09/26/2011

Focus On Life Sciences: MOSIRA Passes, Now Moves For Governor Signature


The Missouri Science and Innovation and Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) has been approved by both houses of the Missouri legislature and will be sent to Governor Nixon for his signature.

08/17/2011

Focus On Life Sciences: Recent Tax Legislation


Due to the current economic environment, Congress has passed and signed into law numerous tax-related bills that impact businesses.