Archive by category | Finance

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

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

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

Financing early stage biotech

I read Bruce Booth’s blog, Life Sci VC, when I get the chance, and he’s often lent his skills to Nature Biotechnology. We had him into our offices as part of our “Meet the Author “:http://www.nature.com/bioent/authors/index.html series, for example, where he discussed his article on biotech IPOs.  Read more

New Bioentrepreneur article

New Bioentrepreneur article

We’ve posted a new article, Shape Shifting, to the Bioentrepreneur site. The piece examines how to mold a company’s pipeline and opportunities, making it most attractive for partnering or buyout. It was written Bob Baltera, CEO of Amira (at the time), and the title refers to the necessity of changing the shape of a company as it progresses.  Read more

Key strategic choices – ‘when’ to plug into the value chain

Key strategic choices – ‘when’ to plug into the value chain

Companies must make many strategic decisions in developing a business model. My last post looked at key strategic choices about ‘what’ a company could develop, and it considered trade-offs and implications of decisions that greatly impact the risks, costs and rewards of drug development. This post looks at another important element of the business model – ‘when’ a company should plan to plug into the value chain and earn a return for its investors.  Read more

Four Types of “Premature Scaling” in Biotech

Earlier this week the Startup Genome project released a report on the DNA of internet startups. Essentially what attributes lead to success or failure. One of the things they found was that 74% of startups failed because of “premature scaling”. Sounds like an unfortunate medical condition. Its when internet startups build their companies too fast and spend too much money before they really know what they have – their product, customer, market, etc…  … Read more

Fast start, not short course

Fast start, not short course

Social networking website LinkedIn went public in May and the share price more than doubled on the first day of trading. By all accounts, it was a very successful IPO: LinkedIn raised over $350M in an offering that valued the company around $3B, and the existing and IPO investors could book a substantial, immediate return. In contrast to the hope of a mere resuscitation of IPOs in biotech sector, murmurs of another tech bubble ensued after the LinkedIn offering. Other tech IPOs in 2011, namely Zillow and Qihoo 360 Technology, also enjoyed extraordinary first trading days, appreciating 79% and 134%, respectively.  Read more