Biotechnology firms are juicing up their research into bioterrorism in response to new funding from the US government, according to a report on the state of the industry in 2003. The strong interest in bioterrorism research comes after a year in which biotech companies were flooded with cash from investors.

Investors are already far more discriminating than they were in 2003, when the entire industry was swamped with cash, write the authors of a "Biotech state of the industry report" from BioWorld magazine, first released earlier this year. The biotech industry raised about $16.5 billion in 2003, making it the second-best year ever for biotech industry fundraising, said Brady Huggett, managing editor of BioWorld.

"Biotech had an impressive year," Huggett wrote in the report. "As stock prices rose, company executives who had spent months sweating and watching stock values decline could contemplate raising funds in an accepting environment....

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