Wednesday, April 19, 2006

"VC are like cloned sheep ... they will follow."

Noting that only $120 million of $5.9 billion in biotech venture capital went to stem cell research in 2005, Terri Somers suggested reasons including scientific uncertainties, intellectual property issues and the lack of any clear path to make a return on investments in stem cell-based companies. I think the bigger reason is that no venture capitalist sees a payout in the seven year or less timescale.

Fred Schwartzer was quoted: When a venture capital firm looks at a company and decides whether it will invest, the members ask themselves: "Who will buy this and how will I get out of this with a profit?" He is also quoted: "VC are like cloned sheep ... they will follow." [IPBiz: probably not the right philosophy to develop a field from the ground floor.]

Separately --> "In Alberta, Canada, there's no money," said Craig Sherbourne,
corporate counsel at Stem Cell Therapeutics there. "There's been a vacuum for

[<-- from The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 16, 2006, H1]

An interesting question from IPBiz: will state funding of stem cell research fill the void left by the absence of large scale federal funding AND VC funding, or will it create a monstrous patent thicket of academic "basic science" patents that set back progress in the field back for years? Recall what the Supreme Court justices said about the Metabolite patent. Rather than filling a void, balkanized state funding might create an obstacle course of molehills.


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