Category Archives: Biotech investment themes

From Crawl to Sprint: The Race to Treat NASH
May 21, 2015

This blog was written by Rosana Kapeller, CSO of Nimbus Therapeutics, as part of the “From the Trenches” feature of LifeSciVC. Early this week, Intercept Pharmaceuticals announced the much awaited design of their Ph. 3 clinical trial of Obeticholic Acid (OCA)


It’s The Antigens, Stupid
April 27, 2015

This blog was written by Michael Gladstone, Principal at Atlas Venture, as part of the “From the Trenches” feature of LifeSciVC. “A big asset of VC’s is pattern recognition. It is also often our biggest liability.”  An apt observation tweeted by

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Where Does All That Biotech Venture Capital Go?
February 9, 2015

Venture capital investing in biotech has long been hard to disaggregate: how much goes to “early stage” vs “late stage”, how much goes to CNS vs oncology, discovery vs Phase 3, etc… Today BIO’s David Thomas and Chad Wessel have


Data Snapshot: VC-Backed BioPharma M&A 2014
February 3, 2015

Similar to this time last year, when IPOs were capturing everyone’s attention, M&A in biotech has been delivering real value.  This morning HBM Partners released their outstanding report on BioPharma M&A in 2014 (here), and the conclusions are in line

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Follow The Patients: The Case For Neuroscience And Other “Challenging” Fields
September 11, 2014

This blog was written by Ankit Mahadevia, CBO of Rodin Therapeutics and Spero Therapeutics, as part of the “From the Trenches” feature of LifeSciVC. There’s an ebb and flow in our business around interest in specific therapeutic areas; hot TAs such

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Biotech Analyst Optimism: Price Targets Post-IPO
August 29, 2014

Getting high quality analyst coverage of your company as a recently minted IPO is important for communicating the rationale and excitement around your story. Thoughtful analysts can evangelize (or punish) companies they believe in (or not). But understanding the relationship


Advancing A New Drug Modality: A Few Lessons Learned
August 21, 2014

Translating breakthrough science into breakthrough medicines is a daunting task.  It’s also worth every nail-biting minute waiting for the next result that brings you closer to helping a patient in need.  We started miRagen based on some amazing laboratory results

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FLINT, NASH, And Biotech: How Big Things Happen
May 6, 2014

On January 9th, 2014, Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) released a very interesting piece of news regarding their Phase 2 FLINT (Farnesoid X Receptor Ligand Obeticholic Acid in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Treatment) trial.  FLINT, a test of their FXR agonist obeticholic acid (OCA)

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Pushing Forward With Collaborative R&D Models In Biotech: Roche-Spero And Biogen-Ataxion
April 9, 2014

With today’s announcement of Roche’s deal with Spero Therapeutics LLC (here), and last month’s news regarding Biogen’s deal with Ataxion (here), we’ve added further momentum to our strategy of working closely with larger BioPharma partners to create innovative “external R&D”

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Unlocking The Promise Of Biotech Startups: Learnings From Mars, Goliath, and Evolution
March 5, 2014

As an early stage biotech investor, the future of the industry and its structure are clearly important things to think about – especially since most of the drug programs our new startups are working on won’t get launched, if they


Perspectives on VC-Backed Biotech: Looking Backward & Forward
January 3, 2014

Tis the season for reflecting and predicting, so I figured I’d follow the custom and share some of my thoughts about the state of biotech in 2013 and the year to come. Reflections on 2013. The Biotech IPO Returns.  This


Atlas IX. Onward and upward.
May 1, 2013

Last week, Atlas Venture closed Fund IX at $265M, as reported this morning by Dan Primack.  We set out to raise $250M, and closed above-target with great support from our existing LP’s and some great new ones.  With this closing,


Immunokinase Drug Candidates: $12B in Value Creation and Counting
March 13, 2013

Immunokinase-directed therapeutics have been one of the highest returning drug classes for biotech investors in recent years.  Drugs that inhibit the JAK family, BTK, Syk, and PI3Kd have all generated impressive clinical validation in B- and T-cell diseases, and created


Lessons Learned: Reflections On Early Stage Biotech Venture Investing
February 8, 2013

Venture capital is often called an apprenticeship business in large part because experience matters and takes time to accumulate.  But successful firms are able to translate and transfer experiential wisdom through institutional memory, which involves codifying what works and what


Biotech M&A in 2012: The Good, Bad, and Ugly
January 30, 2013

The numbers are in on the 2012 Pharma/Biotech M&A performance, at least according to our friends at HBM Partners.  They’ve released another well-annotated deal report and database. The quick summary from a venture-backed biotech perspective: it was a good year


JPM Takeaway: Pharma Wants to Engage Earlier & More Actively
January 11, 2013

Most of the news flow around the JPM Healthcare conferences centers around the main event: public companies presenting their earnings forecasts, R&D updates, new partnering deals, and the like.  There’s also a small private company track at JPM, and there are


Celebrating 2012’s High Innovation Quotient Deals
December 21, 2012

Innovation paid dividends in 2012.  We often debate the relative “innovation quotient” of the companies we evaluate and invest in here at Atlas, and of the biomedical sector as a whole. The basic premise we hold is that high innovation


The Entrepreneurial Diaspora Enabled By Biotech M&A
December 18, 2012

The recycling of equity capital through realized returns is a critically important element of biotech investing.  When public biotech companies get bought, like Genentech by Roche, or smaller deals like Cougar by J&J, a large number of biotech-focused equity funds


Innovation Snapshot: Macrocyclic drugs to unlock new therapeutic targets
November 20, 2012

Macrocyclic drugs are an emerging class of therapeutics that promise to open up drug target spaces which are poorly addressed by small chemical entities and larger biologics.  Cyclosporin is the classic template of such a drug: a cyclically constrained peptide


New Biotech Corporate Structures: Possible Alternatives For Discovery Platforms and Product Financings
September 18, 2012

Not a biotech conference goes by these days without a discussion about new models for financing or exiting companies, and BioPharm America in Boston this week is no different.  I’m on a panel discussing the topic on Wednesday afternoon. New


More Than Half of Biotech Venture Financings Are Early Stage Deals
July 26, 2012

Most readers won’t believe the title, or at least not if they’ve read much in the past few years about the anemic early stage biotech environment.  But hopefully this post will convince them. It all comes down to what do


Venture Debt: Under-Appreciated Tool for Building Biotechs
July 11, 2012

Cash-burning R&D-stage biotechs have big appetites for cash, which is typically addressed with an equity-based diet.  It’s also supported through corporate partnerships and other less dilutive means such as grants and foundation funding.  But another important and often under-appreciated source


Cancer Drug Targets: The March of the Lemmings
June 7, 2012

Just in time for the annual ASCO cancer circus, PhRMA released a new report listing the nearly 1000 projects in the industry’s pipeline for oncology – it’s an impressively long list against a whole range of cancers.  And this should


Contrarian Opportunities in Biotech Venture
June 2, 2012

Pharma have been retooling their therapeutic strategies and R&D priorities considerably over the past decade, shifting in and out of various disease areas.  As they are the eventual home for many of the biotech programs we and other early stage