Drop in biotech investments in Europe
Brussels/San Francisco – As the biggest biotech partnering event on the continent, BioEurope, draws to a close, the venture capital community sent ambivalent messages for life sciences. Dow Jones VentureSource, an analyst, painted a bleak picture. Investments in European biotechnology seem to be drying up. In the third quarter of 2011, companies attracted €163m for 29 deals, a report stated. That is 44% less than in the second quarter. Investments over all industries fell to an 11-year low in Europe, with a 12% drop, but biotech has been hit especially hard. Just last week Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher told Associated Press: "It has never been more difficult to fund a new idea. Venture capital has pretty much gotten right out of healthcare". He seemed self critical. "There has to be a greater demonstration that we can convert a great idea scientifically into a patient benefit with increased frequency — and faster. "A ray of hope comes out of the USA. Venture capitalists plan to invest increasingly in European biotech firms instead of US-firms, a survey by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) stated. The NVCA asked 150 venture capital firms – which put over US$10 billion into health-care companies over the past 3 years – about their investment plans for the next 3 years. 36% of respondents plan to increase investment in life science companies in Europe, whereas only 13% plan to increase investment in the United States. Correspondingly, 31% of firms said they plan to decrease investment in life science companies in the United States, compared with 7% that plan to decrease investment in Europe. But Asia beats them all: 44% of respondents also said they plan to increase investment in Asia, and none said they plan to decrease investment in the region.