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Biotech Companies, Researchers Venture Into Functional Genomics

Last month in Redwood Shores, Calif., participants in the National Conference of Biotechnology Ventures decided to have some fun. Venture capitalists and biotech CEOs lined up to play a corporate version of "Family Feud," an old television game show in which competing families guessed at trivia. HIGH HOPES: Venture capitalists want functional genomics firms to partner with drug companies, says Karl Thiel. One game question: What's going to be the next hot biotech area for investment? Feud pl

Kathryn Brown

Last month in Redwood Shores, Calif., participants in the National Conference of Biotechnology Ventures decided to have some fun. Venture capitalists and biotech CEOs lined up to play a corporate version of "Family Feud," an old television game show in which competing families guessed at trivia.

Karl Thiel
HIGH HOPES: Venture capitalists want functional genomics firms to partner with drug companies, says Karl Thiel.
One game question: What's going to be the next hot biotech area for investment? Feud players at the conference, sponsored by Ernst & Young International of New York, began brainstorming. Immediately, the venture capitalists had a response: "Functional genomics," or unraveling how genes work.

Their answer doesn't surprise investment analysts. "Every company having anything to do with genomics is now renaming itself a 'functional genomics' company," declares Stelios Papadopoulos, head of the health care investment banking group at PaineWebber Group Inc. in New York. He notes that...

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