New Wave Eager venture capitalists and the tools of genetic engineering are opening up medicine’s final frontier: the brain

Survey the landscape of recent science startups, and you would notice a trend: Small neurobiology companies are sprouting up on both coasts—an estimated 15 companies have been founded in the past three years. Then stake out the nerve centers of the large pharmaceutical corporations, and you’d find that, one way or another, most of them are pumping big bucks into neuroscience as well (see story, page 7).So, as they say in the business, what’s the stimulus effecting this response?

For the first time, medicine’s final frontier—the brain—can be broached. Advances in molecular techniques that have sprung from the biotechnology revolution are enabling neurologists to glimpse areas and functions of the central nervous system never before accessible. Molecules capable of getting into the brain and diagnosing—or even treating—such disorders as Alzheimer’s and...

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