How VCs build companies today

We published in the December issue of Nature Biotechnology a news analysis detailing some of the funding models being used by today’s life science investors. Some are looking to expand syndicates, ensuring that funding is there for follow-on rounds. One is sometimes providing huge A rounds by itself. And though many favor an “asset-based” approach, the R&D platform engine is not as dead as might be thought.  Read more

News of the world – in map form

News of the world – in map form

When the news flow supports it, we run a map of sorts in the pages of Nature Biotechnology, rounding up biotech-related items from around the world. This one we published in the December issue, now live on our website. If you’re a subscriber, you can see it here. If not, I’ve pasted it below.  Read more

Assessing VC funding in biotech

Ever since Prospect Ventures “handed back $150M “:https://www.fis.dowjones.com/WebBlogs.aspx?aid=DJFVW00020111006e7a60005l&ProductIDFromApplication=&r=wsjblog&s=djfvwof of committed money to its limited partners, there has been plenty written on the lack of venture capital funding for the life sciences.  Read more

CEITEC grows in Brno

CEITEC grows in Brno

The Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) is establishing an R&D infrastructure project that eventually will cost $300 million in Brno within the next three years. The money for the European centre of scientific excellence comes from the Operational Programme Research and Development for innovation of the European Structural funds. The institute, which will interconnect life sciences and technical fields, will be used by up to 600 scientists and by over 1,200 students, and also by Czech and foreign companies. It will also help the existing basic and applied research in the entire Czech Republic to achieve top levels.  Read more

The “Electric-Biology” duo

The “Electric-Biology” duo

Two old pals, once classmates at Minami-Oei Primary School in Osaka city of Japan, never would have dreamt that they will jointly work to develop a commercially successful disinfectant six decades later. One of them, Sunao Kubota, became a physician and professor of General Surgery in St. Marianna University School of Medicine, and the second, Nobuyuki Yamaji, became an electro physicist with Kyoto University.  Read more

North-South Dealing

North-South Dealing

Entrepreneurial life sciences companies have set their sights on overseas markets and have formed international partnerships to gain access to distribution channels and insight on product specifications, registration, and user preferences. I estimate that this “global health” market place is between $250-300 billion in annual sales, using a 2009 pharmaceutical sales forecast that put 14% of the total of $820 billion resulting from the emerging economies of China, Brazil, India, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, and Russia (2009 Forecast), and so about 17% ($147 billion) occurred in the rest of world including those countries with few resources in health care. Applying the same ratio to a world diagnostics market of $44 billion, I add another $14 billion, giving a approximate non-US/EU/Japan global health pharma/diagnostics products market of $276 billion.  Read more

Blue Sky funding

Blue Sky funding

I read “an article in The Scientist “:http://the-scientist.com/2011/10/17/nih-grants-funding-drops/ on funding with a little cynical laugh the other day. It described how “The success rate of the government agency’s grant applications has hit an all-time low” – of 17.4% of all applications. That’s just under one in five: consider, then, that a recent call by South Africa’s National Research Foundation for 40 prestigious Research Chairs in local universities was over-subscribed by at least 10 to 1 – and that was with pre-screening by the institutions. Another call for “blue sky” projects for rated researchers – open to all 2,300-odd such people – was for a total of R15 million a year, and was expected to cater for about 30 projects.  Read more