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How to save biotech

What the industry needs is not a bailout, but some sensible policies

Stephanie Marrus
Biotech is in trouble, again. 125 of the 370 US-based public companies have less than six months of cash -- a 90% increase in close-to-broke companies compared to 2007, according to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). And that number does not take into account the private companies suffering; about 40% of small private biotechs have less than one year of cash. Venture capitalists are hoarding cash or closing their doors; private equity firms are retrenching, the public markets are in tatters. Big Pharma is shopping with a discriminating eye; the companies that most need to be saved are the least likely to be bought. The industry expects many bankruptcy filings, clinical trial cancellations, layoffs and sell outs. The JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, arguably the premiere healthcare investment conference in the world took place in San Francisco last month. There is no better venue to dial into industry sentiment. Big Pharma,...

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