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NJ Groundview: 4 things you don’t know about Jersey

by Abby Roberts, Director of Content

Susan Kindya

Susan Kindya has worked in the due diligence technology field for the last 13 years, covering the corporate and legal markets in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania for Merrill DatasiteOne. Healthcare has always been a passion; she comes from a medical family and her first career was in dentistry. Susan lives in Long Branch, New Jersey, and in her spare time loves to travel.

What do people get wrong about New Jersey?

New Jersey is deceiving; it is a hub of innovation. All the major pharmaceutical companies have an innovation center here; for instance, Johnson & Johnson runs its venture arm, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, out of New Brunswick, NJ. They are ideally situated to take advantage of all the biotech companies concentrated around Princeton, Newark and Jersey City, as well as Hoboken and the Somerset / Bridgewater area. Many interesting startups are working on orphan drugs, cancer, and an incredible amount of genetic research. It’s amazing how much oncology research is going on. Oncology grabs the lion’s share of attention, but there’s also a lot of new cutting-edge research in the heart and diabetes fields.

Another area people overlook is New Jersey’s robust healthcare technology and information market. For instance, Remedy Health Media just bought Montclair-based Vertical Health, WestView Capital Partners acquired Health Monitor Network in Montvale, and RLDatix just agreed to purchase iContracts, a healthcare software company from Bridgewater.

The medical devices field is developing all sorts of interesting technologies, but frequently remains under-the-radar. Companies are creating everything from new stents and diabetes monitoring instruments to orthopedic medical devices and hepatic pumps for your liver. This, of course, translates into an active capital market, not just for the medical device makers but for their suppliers as well. For instance, EPTAM Precision Solutions just bought Phillipsburg-based Micro Molding, which makes plastic injection molding and catheter tipping solutions.

Finally, don’t think you must go out of the state to find good advisors. I see a ton of extremely talented middle market bankers and lawyers all working and living in New Jersey. They are doing a lot of interesting deals, and come from top tier New York and Philadelphia firms.

What’s the Jersey draw?

New Jersey’s location and demographics create the perfect growth environment. We have a highly educated workforce, a comprehensive transportation network and some of the best schools in the country. In addition, we’re right on Amtrak’s Acela line for the Northeast corridor, with New York City and Philadelphia next door, so there’s lots of access to capital.

Jersey Map

What is your advice for biotech start-ups?

When you think about a small biotech, chances are the business consists of a handful of very smart people with a compound and a small staff, who need to constantly raise capital. The best thing they can do for themselves is to get organized early and leverage the resources available to them.

To be investment-ready, all their information should be securely organized on a due diligence app. That way, their IP is protected and in one place, and they are in a situation to selectively share information whenever they need to.

These companies usually lack staff, so also must use external project management resources smartly. For example, a client recently needed a bunch of eCTD files to be available on a Monday morning for counterparties to review - and it was Thursday. And they did not have the people to do it. They sent the files to our service team, who prepared all of them.

What mistakes do you most often see?

Not getting organized early enough. At the end of the day, if you’re not organized you’re not going to get the funding you need. That’s what I see: people running out of money; and if you don’t have that, you’re done.

Lack of organization also hinders people’s ability to get other resources besides money. Advisers and PE or VC backers don’t just provide access to capital, but become a huge source of guidance.

Finally, people underestimate how long the data room preparation process takes. The global average “build time” is 30 days, and in complex regulatory sectors like healthcare, it’s even longer. We give clients 30-90 days of prep time and consider using that time a best practice.

How early is “organize early”?

I would say if you are looking to go out for a Series A, you should be starting to think about how you’re getting your information organized. There is internal file sharing, which can be helpful, but when you’re sending information to potential investors and want to protect your IP and patient data, you may want to think beyond that.

Susan’s top tips on how to choose a due diligence app

  1. Understand what services you get in addition to the technology, because many technology companies don’t offer true project management support.
  2. Know what your pricing package includes and excludes, as other providers often have hidden costs.
  3. Ensure it complies with the highest security standards and any industry relevant ones. For instance, are its servers compliant with HIPAA? 
  4. Make sure the system has a strong permissions structure that lets you control who sees the data, what they can do with it and whether you can take the data away from them.