Category: Venture Capital


Employee-Free Biotechs: A Virtual Panacea? 
Posted on Apr 13, 2015

  Last week Reuters published an article summarizing the “virtual” biotech business model. It was a strange article, considering that this is not a new approach. Indeed, we wrote about this model as far back as 2011. According to Reuters, The new model has grabbed attention as venture capitalists strive to improve returns in a notoriously

The Ten Year Venture Fund: A Thing of the Past? 
Posted on Feb 19, 2015

  Today’s issue of Institutional Investor has an interesting article on the reality of 10-year venture funds. The author presents statistics demonstrating that <10% of ten-year venture funds actually liquidate within 10 years: Venture capitalists structure and market their funds based on a ten-year fund life. In actuality, only about 7 percent of funds liquidate

Mind The Gap: An Interview with David Grainger of Index Ventures 
Posted on Nov 26, 2014

Mind The Gap… We’re late to this party, but a really good interview of David Grainger from Index Ventures was published in July of this year. We encourage you to read the entire interview. In the meantime, here are a few items which caught our eye: Market Backwards Approach – Index Ventures takes a “market backwards” approach

LLC may be better than C corp 
Posted on Aug 13, 2012

We generally agree with the notion that many early-stage biotechs should be structured as LLCs instead of C corps. This short interview with Attorney Albert L. Sokol highlights one key benefit which we find important: When corporations buy a biotech whole, they typically make offers that primarily reflect the value of the drugs that interest

Venture Financing: Is China the answer? 
Posted on Aug 07, 2012

As we read the continuing bad news regarding venture financing in biotech, we came across this bit of news from the UK: BioCity Nottingham-based CompanDX Limited, the Nottingham Trent University spinout applying novel bio-informatics technology to the issues of personalised medicine, is pleased to announce the raising of 39,600,000 Renminbi (CN¥) for development of products

Slow summer? Hardly 
Posted on Jul 17, 2012

Thank goodness for Twitter. How else can one keep up with all of the news and happenings in our industry during the “slow” month of July? Here are a few stories of interest that we’ve spotted: Truvada for HIV Prevention – This is truly a remarkable development in HIV. While the industry struggles to develop

Unmeet needs should drive drug development, not money 
Posted on Jun 05, 2012

One again, Bruce Booth published a terrific post entitled Contrarian Opportunities in Biotech Venture.  The crux of the article is that while big pharma is licensing in areas such as oncology, many VCs are molding their portfolios to fit the “downstream” demand. Critically, as many pharmas have moved out of therapeutic areas such as anti-infectives,

Burrill Speaks, We Agree 
Posted on Feb 21, 2012

The February, 2012 issue of Life Science Leader has a wide-ranging interview with G. Steven Burrill. It’s an interesting, insightful read, and we can recommend the interview. Mr. Burrill makes an interesting point several times in the interview that are worth repeating: Let’s not just assume that we will always be going through a lengthy

Shiraz or Fuller’s Best? 
Posted on Sep 28, 2011

Earlier this month, Keith Powell posed an interesting question:  The economies of California and the UK are similar, as are the university networks. Why then, does California boast the most successful biotechnology companies and the UK no significant success? Dr. Powell is in a unique position to compare California and the London/Oxford/Cambridge triangle. He is

Merck is a VC! Our problems are solved! 
Posted on Sep 16, 2011

Some members of the media are ebullient with the news that Merck is “getting into venture capital.” However, as In Vivo is reporting, Merck is undertaking two initiatives that are quite different from direct venture investing in biotechs: First, Merck is establishing the Global Health Innovation Fund to invest in non-pharmaceutical health care spaces: It’s

GSK invests in UK biotech start-up 
Posted on Aug 22, 2011

GSK announced that it has taken a ~25% stake in a new spin out. This is a terrific way to create new companies and advance more molecules into the clinic, especially for indications like tinnitus, which are not typically ares of interest for big pharma. These are NCEs from GSK’s portfolio, so they have a

The SmartCells Story 
Posted on Jun 13, 2011

Bruce Booth from Atlas Ventures has a fascinating story on his blog. We won’t steal Bruce’s thunder. Instead, we encourage you to read it there first. The gist of the story is how a small company was able to develop a highly innovative diabetes product to the point where Merck acquired the company. This resulted in a

The Era of the One Man Pharma Band (With Updates) 
Posted on May 31, 2011

There is a fascinating discussion taking place over at Derek Lowe’s blog today on one-man drug companies: …some of them are not quite down to one person, but you can count the employees on your fingers. In all of these cases, everything is being contracted out. Aside from the samples given in the post, and

VCs Avoiding the Creep 
Posted on May 05, 2011

Today’s In Vivo Blog post summarizes comments that we have been hearing from our clients as well. Namely, that deals are increasingly shifting towards back-ended Royalties and earn-outs, at the expense of larger upfront payments. Companies are now facing an interesting dilemma. Suppose a company has a lead product candidate ready for Phase II clinical testing. One

BioTrinity Panel Discussions 
Posted on Apr 21, 2011

We regret that we were unable to attend the panel discussions at BioTrinity last week. However, an excellent summary was posted on the PharmaPhorum web site. Of note: 1. Investment syndication is becoming increasingly important. 2. Big pharma/Big biotech are looking at earlier-stage assets, perhaps more so than ever. Even early-stage technologies coming out of

VCs Abandoning Biotech for the Web? 
Posted on Apr 07, 2011

Fred Frank, a highly respected investment banker, greeted us on Tuesday morning with this missive: Venture capitalists, who make high-risk investments in start-ups, are tired of waiting years for biotech companies to generate real products and be marketable as initial public offerings, bankers said. They’d rather invest in companies that could go public in just a

The Sandwich Shoppe is Closed 
Posted on Feb 07, 2011

There has been a lot of commentary this week on Pfizer’s announcement that their highly respected research center in Sandwich, UK, will be closed. The original press release suggested that the decision was based on  Pfizer’s decision to exit therapeutic areas such as allergy, respiratory, and urology, which are based in Sandwich. Wall Street analysts loved

Thoughts on JP Morgan Conference 
Posted on Jan 17, 2011

There is a lot of good commentary and analysis of last week’s JP Morgan Healthcare conference, most notably here, here, and here. Here are a few of our thoughts as we look back at the conference: 1. Maybe it’s because it’s the start of a new year, or perhaps it’s that we’ve come out of

Impressions from JP Morgan – Day One 
Posted on Jan 12, 2011

In our meetings and informal discussions, there were three items we heard again and again: 1. Last year was a terrible fund raising year from a VC-backed company perspective. 2. This year will be much better. Indeed, there is a palpable sense of optimism that more companies will receive more funding in 2011, but… 3.

Orphan Drugs & Venture Capital Backed Companies 
Posted on Oct 23, 2010

The October, 2010 issue of Life Science Leader has an interesting article entitled Orphan Drugs: Big Pharma’s Next Act? The premise is that Big Pharma is turning towards orphan drug opportunities because they are faster and less expensive to develop, yet have near-blockbuster potential. Indeed, the article correctly notes that companies such as Genzyme and Cephalon

GSK Spinout – Great, but let’s be realistic 
Posted on Oct 05, 2010

Today we read the news that GSK will spin out a team of fourteen scientists and patents into a standalone company. Convergence Pharmaceuticals will focus on the development of pain management products. GSK retains an 18% ownership stake in the new company. Generally speaking, I think this is a fabulous idea. I would like to

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