US venture capital investments by industry reveal that 21% belong to biotechnology. The industry has had the fastest growth for any major industry adding roughly 12% more jobs from 2000 to 2002. Generally, biotech companies are able to raise $10m to $30m in venture capital and are successfully floated during the exit. This is followed by a very positive image in the media: it?s almost impossible to read The Economist without seeing anything related to the great breakthrough of biotechnology. Unfortunately PPL Therapeutics, the biotech company behind Dolly, valued ÃÂ£500m at that time, now is worth ÃÂ£5.5m. Could this be just the same thing as dotcom companies were to Wall Street?
It takes 15 or 16 years for these companies to become profitable, and even then only through flotation. By that time a company typically had raised $800m. A new trend is for large pharmacy corporations such as Pfizer to provide venture capital for relatively small ventures in order to develop new, but strictly determined, products for less expense.
The main difference is that latter ventures are showing actual results that make them reasonable.
There are 3 kinds of people that go to ballet: the ones that know something about it, the ones that like the atmosphere and the ones that go only because it is stylish at a particular time. While pharmacy indeed knows something about biotech and some funds like the atmosphere, there are still those that follow the M. Steinhardt?s advice not to go against the market.
One of the possible reasons for such action is mistrust in large corporations. Only 23% of Americans think that the bosses of large corporations could be trusted and a remarkable 75% trust people who run small companies. After the Enron and WorldCom scandals biotech seems less likely to end the...