Category Archives: VC-backed Biotech Returns

VC Returns Revisited: Biopharma’s Outperformance
September 8, 2015

Biotech has been on a tear over the past few years supported by a combination of scientific advances, great IPO and M&A exit environments, and robust capital markets for fundraising. Watching the public indices gives a good indicator of broader

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BioPharma M&A: Capital Efficiency Drives Returns
May 15, 2015

Amidst lofty public markets and robust fund flows, it’s easy to forget the importance of equity capital efficiency in building new biotech companies. But like gravity, it’s a fundamental principle and rests at the heart of generating quality returns in


Scorecard Of Biobuck M&A Earnouts
April 30, 2015

Milestone payments are an important risk-sharing component in today’s biopharma deal-making toolbox. As it’s a topic I’ve explored in the past (here, here), it’s an opportune time to revisit the stats for how they have performed recently. These contingent value transfers

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Biotech IPO Performance: Discerning Market Or Rising Tide?
March 20, 2015

As anyone following the biotech sector knows, the market for new public offerings has been incredibly strong over the past couple years. And the larger cap stocks in the sector have also outperformed, propelled by product launches and exciting clinical

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Buying Time in 2014: Comparative Holding Periods For VC-Backed M&A Events
March 13, 2015

Over the past decade, in contrast to widely held misperceptions, the Biotech sector has witnessed time-to-IPO metrics very similar to other venture sectors, as I recently blogged on regarding the 2014 IPO Class (here). What wasn’t covered in the prior post was

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Tortoise & Hare Revisited: “Time To IPO” For VC-Backed Startups
February 24, 2015

Getting a drug from discovery to market requires more than a dozen years, so you just can’t do biotech in a 10-year venture fund – it just takes too long, right?  Fortunately, wrong.  The data just don’t support this premise, although this

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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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Venture-Backed Biotech Today: Reflections On Exits, Funding, and Startup Formation
January 22, 2015

Biotech is definitely red-hot, and has been for the past eight quarters. Immuno-oncology, cancer metabolism, gene therapy, orphan diseases, NASH, autoimmune – there’s a broad range of disease settings that are capturing the excitement and imagination of investors today. With some


Startups, Exits, And Ecosystem Flux: Bullish For Biotech
September 8, 2014

The world is awash in cool new tech startups and poised for “A Cambrian Moment”, according to a recent special report from the Economist. For those that haven’t read it, it’s a very interesting set of articles about the trends


Data Insight: The Return Distribution Of BioPharma VC Financings
August 11, 2014

Return distributions in venture capital across different sectors have been a frequent source of commentary, and new data from Correlation Ventures provides further substrate for that theme. I’ve highlighted data from Correlation Ventures (CV) in the past, looking at top

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VC-Backed Biotech IPOs: Valuations And Virtuous Cycles
August 4, 2014

As everyone in biotech knows, the last eighteen months have been an unprecedented time in the public capital markets.   2014 is on track to become the best year ever for life science IPOs, topping both 2013 and 2000.  Last week

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Framing Up Capital Efficiency In Early Stage Biotech
July 17, 2014

Capital efficiency has become a mantra at Atlas, one shared by a number of other early stage biotech investors. It’s a term often repeated in discussions about building young companies, and yet it has become clear that there’s no consistent


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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Tradeoffs and Timing: IPO vs. M&A Decision Making in Biotech
April 2, 2014

In light of the continued interest in biotech IPOs by the capital markets, there’s probably not a venture-backed biotech boardroom that hasn’t been discussing the merits of going public. Whether warranted or not, taking a company public via an IPO

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Immuno-Oncology Startup CoStim Pharmaceuticals Acquired By Novartis
February 18, 2014

Today Novartis announced its acquisition of CoStim Pharmaceuticals, a young biotech company focused on next generation approaches in the exciting immuno-oncology field (here).  Their oncology capabilities and commitment to anti-cancer immune mechanisms made them an ideal partner for us at

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Biotech IPO Returns: Great, Good, And Not So Good
February 10, 2014

The biotech IPO bonanza appears to be continuing into 2014, with over thirteen offerings already this year.  We’re just now completing the busiest two week period in biotech IPOs ever.  Another dozen or so companies appear likely to price IPOs

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The Arteaus Therapeutics Story: R&D Externalization with Eli Lilly
January 13, 2014

Today, we are excited to announce that we’ve successfully exited Arteaus Therapeutics to Eli Lilly (see announcement here, here).  It’s fair to say it’s been a superbly executed example of R&D externalization and a win–win for Lilly and Arteaus. Before

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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


2013’s Untold Biotech Story: Success Of The 2011-12 IPO Class
December 12, 2013

The past year has certainly been the most exciting one for Biotech IPOs since 2000, with dozens of new offerings and compelling therapeutic narratives.  But focusing on these new IPOs misses an equal if not more exciting story: the significant

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Correlation’s Fresh Look At Venture Capital Returns
November 18, 2013

The broad underperformance of the venture capital asset class during the past decade is widely discussed; there’s a frequently-cited assertion that U.S. venture returns trailed the overall public equity stock market in the 2000s. Few if any published analyses have


Biotech IPOs: The Exit Challenge As Lockups Expire
October 31, 2013

Six months ago the biotech industry was on the verge of a sizzling season for IPOs, and since then, on average, we’ve seen one new biotech IPO per week.  Valuations of many of these offerings have been impressive, and this


Winners’ Circle: New Insights Into BioPharma Venture Returns
September 17, 2013

Successful deals in venture capital take on a life of their own, especially the rare massive outlier return.  Unfortunately for venture capitalists, Facebooks and Twitters are very rare. Understanding the nature of “winners” requires a good grounding in what a


A View Through An Open Window For Biotech IPOs
July 9, 2013

For the first time in over a decade, there’s real talk about an open IPO window for biotech companies.  The NVCA’s second quarter update highlighted that venture-backed biotech outpaced all other industry sectors in the number of IPOs and the

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Debunking Myths About Biotech Venture Capital
May 22, 2013

There are lots of myths about venture capital and biotech in particular, as noted previously on this blog.  Many of these myths are deeply held beliefs about returns, what works and what doesn’t, and the state of the industry.  Told


VC-backed Biotech Holding Periods: Tortoise or Hare?
May 8, 2013

Biotech just takes too long, especially when compared to the overnight success of technology ventures, or so the oft-cited criticism of venture-backed biotech’s perceived longer holding period goes. Despite being a well-accepted belief  held by most venture professionals, LP’s, and


Unhealthy Prognosis for Venture-Backed Diagnostics
April 26, 2013

Personalized medicine and diagnostics are undoubtedly critical to the delivery of better healthcare in the future: getting the right drug to the right patient at the right time.  In theory, these therapy-guiding diagnostics should reduce the cost of healthcare while


Preclinical Biotech Structured Deals: Reflections on 2013’s Solid Start
March 1, 2013

Several preclinical-stage biotechs have opted for the early Pharma structured buyout as their exit path in recent weeks: Resolve Therapeutics with Takeda, Zacharon with Biomarin, RQx Pharma with Genentech, and Lotus Tissue Repair with Shire. Here are the quick takes


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


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


Gravity, Biotech Returns, and Why The Median Matters
November 25, 2012

Many venture-backed companies assume they can escape the gravity of historic valuation ranges, and an anecdotal few may accomplish the feat.  But figuring out how to live within its probabilistic reality is an important element of successful venture portfolio construction. A thesis


Data Insight: Venture Capital returns and loss rates
November 7, 2012

Much of the public dialogue about venture capital returns is based more on myth than fact, which reinforces inappropriately limited views of relative sector attractiveness, underlying risk profiles, and the “business models” that work in venture.  A big part of


Biotech IPOs Are Back! Maybe.
October 16, 2012

Two recent offerings, Kythera and Intercept, both ripped out of the gates with 20% rallies above their offer price last week.  A flood of new S1 filings is to be expected.  With all that inventory out there of emerging private

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New Data on Venture Capital Returns: Exits Are Indeed Improving
October 3, 2012

Correlation Ventures, a new analytics-driven venture firm, just came out with some interesting data on US venture capital returns over the past decade. Instead of taking a “birth” vintage approach to returns, which is the way venture fund vintages and

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Biotech M&A Earnout Payments, Data Redux
September 12, 2012

Earnout deals are back in the news with an interesting report from Shareholder Representative Services, or SRS, a firm who specializes in working for the selling party’s shareholders to follow up post-acquisition to ensure that escrows are paid, diligence is

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Biotech’s Capital Intensity Challenge: A Post-Mortem on 2007’s Biggest Deals
August 29, 2012

“Raise all the money you can whenever you can, and then raise some more”.  “The more a company raises, the more successful it is”.  Resumes boasting about how much an executive has raised in their prior companies.  These sentiments are


Reflections on Oncology’s Recent Biotech IPOs: CLVS, MACK, & TSRO
June 28, 2012

Three late stage oncology deals have made it through the IPO gauntlet in the past six months: Clovis Oncology in November 2011, Merrimack in March 2012, and just yesterday Tesaro.  Almost all came out of their offerings unscathed, unlike most

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Biotech M&A: Quietly delivering returns in 2012
June 19, 2012

Time and again, life sciences VC deals have been outscoring their better-capitalized, super-hyped and oft-praised colleagues who do deals in the tech side of the asset class. – Jonathan Marino in a PE Hub Post titled “Quietly, VCs in Life

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Not-so-Breaking News: The VC Model Needs Retooling
May 15, 2012

“We Have Met the Enemy… And He is Us” is the very fitting title of a recent report on the state of the VC market with a focus on the GP-LP relationship.  This thoughtful and thankfully analytical report highlights a


Biotech Past, Biotech Present: Reflections on the IPO Window of 1991-1994
May 2, 2012

Twenty years ago the biotech world was in the midst of one of the best IPO windows in its history.  Nearly a hundred biotech companies went public from 1991-1994, including a number of the great companies that have become household


Biotech VC Returns: Diversified Funds vs. Healthcare-only Funds
April 9, 2012

Over the past decade biotech investments made by diversified venture capital firms have outperformed those by healthcare-focused firms.  Its unclear why the difference exists, but the historical data suggest it’s a striking differential. Examining the NVCA Benchmarking Database powered by