Insights from Research on Corporate Venture in Medtech

Lee Drucker | July 2, 2015

Medcity New’s article discussing the findings from our research on which medtech corporate venture arms are the best partners:

“The shift in the stage of investment and where the perceived opportunities in biotech are have had a significant impact. Pharma corporate venture investors have broadened their interest from late stage to earlier stages of investment. Priorities have also shifted from the next blockbuster drug to more personalized treatments.

One of the consistent criticisms of corporate investors is the imperfect balance between strengthening the core business and the investment target.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

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Litigation Finance: 10 Questions to Help Advise Your Client

Lee Drucker | June 24, 2015

We, at Lake Whillans, have been writing a lot about litigation finance in order to provide lawyers and claimholders with a framework for thinking about its use and potential benefits. I thought it might be time to take a break from writing, and provide an analytics tool to help claimholders and their lawyers determine whether litigation finance makes sense for the business.

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Build a Litigation Finance Company (Part 2)

Lee Drucker | June 10, 2015

As we continue to discuss the benefits of using litigation funding, how it can help companies grow, and how it provides new paths for entrepreneurial litigators, I have begun to explain how we at Lake Whillans think about building a quality litigation funding company. The purpose of this series of posts is to share a little about our vision of litigation finance and how we are building our company. If there are any topics that you might be curious to learn about just email me at

In my last post on the topic, I discussed some of the less obvious benefits that are derived from selecting profitable investments. Today, I want to discuss how we think about the Lake Whillans ‘brand’.

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Litigation Finance & Evolving Litigation: the Julia Woog Interview

Lee Drucker | June 8, 2015

The second of a series of interviews with top litigators discussing their practice, the evolving legal industry, and litigation finance:

In terms of funding alternatives, the introduction of third party litigation funding really offers an expansion of the contingency model. Lawyers have long been taking cases that have merit, but would not otherwise get to the courtroom, on a contingency basis. But a meritorious case still might not go forward with the traditional contingency option. For some cases the costs (as opposed to legal fees) might be so high that the clients can’t afford to cover even that piece of the litigation—particularly in this digital age when document discovery is often voluminous and discovery costs extensive. And in other instances, a law firm that sees merit in a case might not be able to take it on because of the firm’s own case load or cash flow concerns. The arrival of litigation finance in the market helps pick up these cases and means that a strong claim should never be frustrated just for a plaintiff’s lack of resources.

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How Litigation Finance Was used by Yetter Coleman to Save a Business

Lee Drucker | May 22, 2015

The first of a series of interviews with top litigators discussing their practice, the evolving legal industry, and litigation finance.

In 2013, we met the principals of Lake Whillans, one of the leaders in litigation finance. They introduced us to Business Logic Corp., a small but innovative software company in Chicago. For years, BLC had worked well with one of the largest companies in Chicago to roll out an online advice solution for employer retirement programs. Then, BLC believed, its former partner stole its trade secrets and used them to implement “new” programs based on BLC’s hard work. Defended by a blue-chip law firm, Morningstar, after years of litigation, had worn down BLC to the point of abandoning its claims, declaring bankruptcy, or finding outside funding.

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Changing Landscape of Medtech Innovation

Lee Drucker | April 30, 2015

Last week in Medcity News, Tiffany Wilson Karp, the executive director of the Global Center for Medical Innovation, discussed the changing landscape for early stage funding in the medical device space, including that “[v]enture capital is essentially out of the early-stage medtech investing business” and that she is “seeing an increased interest from corporate venture capital (large medical device companies, for example) which face gaps in their innovation pipelines in the future and may be open to creative ways to engage with early-stage companies who are working on problems they want to address or product pipelines they want to fill.”

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Silicon Valley is a Paradigm for Lit Finance

Lee Drucker | April 22, 2015

When I jokingly explained that Lake Whillans was not the Iron Bank of Braavos in my last column, I was pretty sure that that was the last article I would ever write about HBO programming. Then episode 2 of season 2 of Silicon Valley aired on Sunday; the episode, titled Runaway Devaluation, depicts a quintessential paradigm for the use of litigation finance (or distressed venture funding, another financial product we provide).

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Lake Whillans is NOT the Iron Bank of Braavos

Lee Drucker | April 13, 2015

With all the hype surrounding the first episode of this season’s Game of Thrones, I figured it was time to dispel the rumors: Lake Whillans is NOT the Iron Bank. While both entities can be a great resource in your campaign to vanquish an opponent, there remain a couple key differences.

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Life Science Entrepreneurs Facing Litigation

Lee Drucker | April 7, 2015

Developing a new product or business in the healthcare space is rife with complexity. Whether it be creating a new medical device, an innovative pharmaceutical, or a digital health business, healthcare entrepreneurs must identify a valuable opportunity, assemble a dedicated and talented team, potentially invest years and abundant resources in R&D – all of which may occur before seeking FDA approval, finding manufacturing partners, or even knowing whether you have a viable product for the market. Given these challenges, the last thing on a CEO’s mind when raising capital or finding partners to navigate these complexities may be how to defend the company if one of these partnerships goes sideways. But what happens if one of these partnerships does go awry? If a partner, having learned the secrets of a company’s technology determines to take that knowledge for itself? (Last week, F. Nicholas Franano, MD, a radiologist and chief executive officer at two cardiovascular medical device companies, Flow Forward Medical and Metactive Medical discussed how companies can best protect themselves when entering these partnerships.) Or if a competitor takes action to derail the company? (here is an in-depth article about a company in that position). Is all of the work of the talented and dedicated people that helped drive the initial success of the company lost?

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The best way for companies and their counsel to determine if litigation finance is an attractive option is to discuss it with us.