Series: SHS Senior Advisor: Dr Markus Enzelberger
Here we introduce you to the SHS senior advisors. The experience of these experts plays an important role for us in the investment process and benefits not least our portfolio companies.
Dr Enzelberger is currently a partner at Versant Ventures in Basel, where he builds new companies in drug discovery and biotechnology. Prior to that, he spent almost 20 years as Chief Scientific Officer of MorphoSys AG, an MDAX and Nasdaq listed Munich-based biotechnology company engaged in antibody drug discovery and development. Dr Enzelberger was responsible for driving the development of MorphoSys’s core antibody generation technologies (HuCAL and Ylanthia).
A chemist by training, Dr Enzelberger completed his PhD at the University of Stuttgart, then did a post-doc with Steven Quake at the California Institute of Technology, working in the field of microfluidic biological assays, where he also co-invented Fluidigm’s key technologies.
What made you decide to turn to the field of healthcare/life science as a career after completing your studies and doctorate?
Dr Enzelberger: Scientific curiosity in general: being driven to understand how life and disease work and how to modulate various aspects. Life sciences combine physics, biology, engineering and chemistry to provide a holistic view of nature, combined with the possibility of improving quality of life for people.
Why is the healthcare sector so interesting for investors?
The financial, social and technological successes of the biotech and diagnostics sector, especially during the Corona crisis, have massively boosted confidence and interest in this area. Despite some dampeners, the healthcare and biotech sector is still booming and future prospects are good. Many new innovations, such as in the areas of artificial intelligence and data science, will enable new breakthroughs.
What makes life science suppliers so attractive for investments?
Expiring patents lead to a massive need for the large life science players to strengthen and stabilise their portfolio. Acquisitions of very mature companies are becoming increasingly difficult and competitive, shifting the focus of M&As to earlier stages of development and younger companies. This significantly shortens the time to exit. Furthermore, there are increasingly experienced founders and CEOs in this area who are running their second or third company with clear goals and experience, which minimises the risks for investors.
What major trends do you see in the healthcare/life science sector over the next five years?
Modern medicines are becoming increasingly personalised, technologically complex and cost-intensive, so technologies are needed that enable early, maximally personalised diagnostics at attractive prices. Stable decentralised manufacturing, quality control and distribution processes are needed for the production of these modern diagnostics and medicines (e.g. cell and gene therapy).
What does a medtech company expect from an industry investor like SHS in terms of cooperation?
Depending on the experience of the founding team, help in focusing on the market and the product and not exclusively on the science and technology is certainly important. In general, an experienced sparring partner is helpful at any level of experience. Developing ideas, strategies and products together and with a view beyond one’s own nose is the central task of an investor.
What appeals to you about your job as Senior Advisor at SHS?
Too little attention is often paid to European life science companies, even though there is outstanding research and engineering here. Helping the European teams and founders to develop their ideas and position products successfully is simply fun.
Thank you for the interview.