NEWS: Highlights from Octane’s Aesthetics Technology Summit

Octane’s inaugural Aesthetics Technology Summit took place Friday at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach.

The summit convened physicians, industry members and entrepreneurs, who discussed medical aesthetic technologies, as well as what they perceive are unmet clinical needs and new business opportunities.

Participating companies included Allergan, Evolus, Google Health and Facebook Health.

The conference kicked off with a keynote, in which Brent Saunders, chairman and CEO of Allergan, interviewed Yassaman Salas, managing director of Goldman Sachs.

The entire conference was moderated by Kamakshi Zeidler, founder and managing partner of Aesthetx.

Here are some key takeaways and highlights:

Synchronistic timing: ATS came on the heels of news reports that as AbbVie approaches the completion of its $63 billion acquisition of Allergan, the former intends to keep Allergan’s aesthetics as a separate unit.

And, more importantly for OC, keep that unit in Irvine. It will have its own research and development team, led by Carrie Strom, who currently serves as SVP of U.S. medical aesthetics for Allergan, according to those reports.

Good Attendance: Close to 400 people registered for this inaugural, annual conference (compared to Octane’s first annual ophthalmology conference, which was “about 50 people in the back of a restaurant,” Octane CEO Bill Carpou said.)

Praise for the Organizing Committee: Carpou gave a huge shoutout to these key leaders on the committee: Tom Albright, CEO, Recros Medica; Frank Fazio, CEO, AMC Group; Carrie Strom, SVP, Medical Aesthetics, Allergan; Caitlin Blance, Partner, K&L Gates; Fauad Hasan, CEO, Ornovi; and Scott Whitcup, CEO Akrivista and Whitecap Biosciences.

Another shoutout went to OC as a hotspot for aesthetics technology: David Moatazedi, CEO of Evolus, said he grew up in OC, as did his wife. He said he was inspired by David Pyott, the CEO of Allergan from 1998 until the sale of the company to Actavis in 2015, and Mike Mussallem, the CEO of Edwards Lifesciences.

“OC is an incredible space” for aesthetics, Moatazedi said.

He said it’s even better for recruiting talent than Santa Barbara, which historically, was a mecca for the breast implant industry, but where it was “harder to recruit talent,” he said.

Watch for Evolus to introduce two new products in the first half of this year. One in Q1 and another in Q2.
The millennial women approaching 40 demographic is Evolus’ target market. Although its products have only been on the market for six months, it’s doing well in terms of revenue and customer re-ordering, Moatazedi said. Evolus has 3,500 accounts around the country.

What’s needed for more investment in aesthetics tech? A panel addressing this said these are imperative: defensible IP, good data and analytics, support from key opinion leaders and a strong team. Educating VC’s and finding ones that are more familiar with the aesthetics market is also critical, since a lot of them aren’t.

– How do you connect consumers to innovations in aesthetics? A panel addressing this said that this is a “big, healthy, untapped growing market.” Close to 65 million interested in injectables. But so far there’s only been about 7% penetration.

Barriers include a “fear factor” among potential patients. The first channel to get customers remains through their doctors/dermatologists, although social media is making headway, with influencers on sites like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

But, can you trust those influencers? That was subject to heated debate among the panelists.

The good news is that larger companies, i.e. Allergan, have abundant financial resources — around $506 billion — to acquire startups.

One of the panelists was Jonah Shacknai, the CEO of SkinBetter, and the former CEO of Medicis. He was also a strategic advisor for Allergan for three years.

Update on Visionary Venture Funds: The first fund focused on ophthalmology. The second fund is a more diversified fund, with a primary focus on ophthalmology and a secondary focus on aesthetics in the medical device and pharma realms.

The second fund has raised $80 million, with $50 million more committed, according to Jeff Weinhuff, managing partner of the funds. Two of the companies the first fund invested in were acquired; both deals closed in late 2018.

IanTech was acquired by Carl Zeiss Meditec for an undisclosed amount. And, Tear Film Innovations was acquired by Alcon, also for an undisclosed amount.

Tear Film gave investors an IRR of 283%.

IanTECH yielded an IRR of 58%.

Check out the most recent article on the Visionary Ventures funds, and the 33% IRR the first fund saw in 2018, here.

Several startups that have gone through Octane’s LaunchPad accelerator presented at the summit:

– Cyprus Medical, which develops and commercializes medical devices that make plastic surgery less invasive

– Dominion, which focuses on the invention, development, manufacturing and commercialization of innovative medical devices in the field of body contouring, using laser-based tech

– Innoture Medical Technologies, which developed dermal drug delivery through its 3D Printed Microneedle tech

– PatientFi offers medical providers a next-gen, point-of-care financing platform that it claims helps make aesthetic procedures more affordable for patients

– TeVido provides pigment cell transplants, to restore lost skin color

See this link for how much funding they’re all seeking.

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

You don't have permission to register