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MedLabs InnoTalk Series 

Life Science SPACs:

An Overview and Future

Trends in 2021

Wednesday, July 21st, Online Zoom Webinar

For InnoTalk of July, we invited Gregory Benning, and Jonathan P. Gertler, experts in life sciences investment banking at Back Bay Life Science Advisors, to share the pros and cons of the SPAC vehicle as it continues to evolve and discuss whether life science SPACs are a short-term structural finance fad, or changing the face of the IPO forever.

The one-hour-long webinar consists of an opening speech, fireside chat, and a Q&A session.


  • An Introduction to the Life Science SPACs

  • The era of SPACs/Current Situation

  • Pros and Cons of the SPAC vehicle

  • Future trends of Life Science SPACs in 2021/2022

  • Interactive Q&A Session for all attendees

Gregory Benning

Managing Director and Head of Investment Banking, Back Bay Life Science Advisors

Gregory Benning, MBA, is managing director and head of investment banking for Back Bay Life Science Advisors. He is a highly experienced M&A specialist, with over 25 years of client advisory and transactional experience. He has managed and executed more than 300 M&A, divestiture, and financing transactions, with proceeds totaling over $15B.

Before joining Back Bay in 2013, Mr. Benning was Head of Mergers and Acquisitions for the emerging growth investment bank, Adams Harkness, and a partner-level banker at the Boston-based investment bank, Tucker Anthony. He launched middle market M&A practices for A.G. Edwards & Sons and Barrington Associates, both now part of Wells Fargo.

Mr. Benning is an acknowledged expert on M&A transaction markets, deal structures and acquisition finance, and has presented, spoken, and written for organizations including ACG Boston, the Angel Capital Association, Babson College, Boston University, Corporate Board Member, DKBIO, Ernst & Young, IBF's Venture Capital Summit, MassBIO, the Nantucket Conference, the National Association of Corporate Directors, Thomson Financial and YCombinator. He regularly participates in the professional development programs of several regional and national law firms, covering topics including embedded derivatives in M&A deal structures, earnouts and contingent payment structures and fairness opinion best practices.

Mr. Benning has an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, and a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Registered Securities Principal with BML Securities LLC.

Jonathan P. Gertler, MD

Managing Partner and CEO at Back Bay Life Science Advisors

Jonathan P. Gertler, MD, is Managing Partner and CEO of Back Bay Life Science Advisors and Managing Director, BioVentures Investors MedTech Funds. He has over 30 years of clinical and scientific experience, and extensive advisory work with biotechnology, diagnostic, medical device and health care IT companies in both the private and public sector. A former vascular surgeon and founder of several life science companies, Dr. Gertler is a frequent speaker and writer on strategic issues facing life science companies at all stages.

Before founding Back Bay in 2010, Dr. Gertler served as Senior Partner and Managing Director of Leerink Swann Strategic Advisors, Head of BioPharma Investment Banking at Leerink Swann & Company, as well as Head of Life Science Investment Banking at Adams Harkness/Canaccord Adams.

Dr. Gertler founded Antyllus Therapeutics, a development-stage biotechnology company focused on aortic diseases, and Biofeedback Systems Design, a digital medicine company developed for the wellness market. Dr. Gertler also founded Cardiovascular Technologies, which successfully exited in 2001.

Over the course of his advisory career, Dr. Gertler has counseled companies on growth and liquidity strategies and has been responsible for significant aggregate consideration in M&A, private and public equity for biotech, medtech, and HCIT companies. Prior to his advisory and consulting career and during the latter phases of his academic career, he was a Venture Partner at SV Life Sciences from 1997-2001.

Dr. Gertler was an academic vascular surgeon, primarily as Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital. He has published extensively in clinical vascular surgery and endothelial and smooth muscle cell biology and has served as an ad-hoc editor for the Journal of Vascular Surgery, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, among others. He currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Boston University School of Medicine, among other academic affiliations, and was previously a board member of several private and public companies and non-profit organizations.

Dr. Gertler trained at Yale in General Surgery and at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Vascular Surgery. He earned a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, an MBA in Health Policy and Management from Boston University and a BA from Wesleyan University. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of numerous academic and clinical surgical societies. He is a Series 24 Registered Securities Principal. He is married with three grown sons and is an avid musician, athlete and fly angler.

Dr. Ella Li

Partner of ZGC US Fund, CEO of ZGC Capital

Dr. Ella Li the CEO of ZGC Capital and also the partner of ZGC U.S. Fund, leading ZGC’s team in investment and incubator operation. She’ established and managed several VC and fund of funds, including one with portfolio funds including KPCB, Menlo, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel and Foundation Capital. She is also the founder of Medlabs healthcare accelerator, providing companies with funding, mentorship and key resources to transform healthcare.

Dr. Li has 15+ years of experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors and has rich experiences in therapeutic investment opportunities from discovery and clinical proof-of-concept to commercialization. She also serves as board advisor, consultant and mentor in several major VC, accelerators, and startups. Dr. Ella Li earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Peking University School of Pharmacy, Ph.D. from the University of Texas Health Science Centers, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship from Harvard Medical School. Ella has extensive publications in prestigious journals with IMF over 10 including Nature Communication, Cell Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS, Molecular Cell, Diabetes etc.

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