Entrepreneurs improve quality of life through Biotech development but need VC to succeed

Venture capital-backed medical innovations in the past two decades extend and improve the quality of life for 25 million people a year in the U.S., according to a new report released Wednesday.

By Tim Simmers, BUSINESS WRITER,1413,82~10834~2571275,00.html

While the heroes remain the doctors and health care professionals who deliver care, and the entrepreneurs who create the medical innovations, many breakthroughs on treatments of chronic diseases and ailments leading to death would not happen without venture investments, said a report by Pacific Bridge Life Sciences and the Weinberg Group.

"Without venture capital investment, there would be no innovation in biomedical technology," said David Goodman of the Weinberg Group and co-author of the report. "The research would die on the vine at universities and other research labs."

The report, entitled "Patient Capital: Improving the Lives of Millions," examines the impact of venture capital investment in the "killers" and chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, asthma and arthritis. The report was commissioned by the National Venture Capital Association .

Venture capital investment in biotechnology continues to be a key to the Peninsula and Bay Area economies, fueling innovation and jobs at the huge cluster of local companies, Goodman said.

Not only does the Peninsula and Bay Area have one of the biggest clusters of biotechnology companies in the nation, it also is a hub for the venture capital industry. The industry invested more than $5 billion last year in life science companies. That represented 28 percent of all venture capital investment.

"We’re focusing on a large and growing set of products related to aging, including heart failure, Alzheimer’s and diseases affecting the skeleton," said Jonathan D. Root, general partner at U.S. Venture Partners in Menlo Park.

Some of the top causes of death — cancer, heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease — are treatable with innovation developed by venture capital-backed life science companies, the report said.

The report stresses that venture-backed medical innovations are developed and made available to patients as much as three times faster than a "bootstrapping" approach to product development.

Another report by the NVCA is Venture Impact 2004:

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