Posted by: Audrey Erbes | March 9, 2014

Early Stage Life Science Research Funding: Half Full or Half Empty? Plus Events and Jobs

Every meeting I attend I hear from entrepeurneurs that funding for startups is very tight. This week’s BioCentury lead article entitled “Innovator Capital Rationing” written by Michael Flanagan tackles the assumption that VCs aren’t funding early-stage research companies. The article notes that companies with a lead program in discovery or preclinical development have received 20% of venture dollars or more than $1 billion on average annually. They represent 30% of all deals.

Some early stage investors believe this is sufficient funding to provide needed capital to the companies they believe have the best ideas to merit funding and/or have removed some initial risk from the deal to make the deal more appealing. A big question is whether or not this level of capital is enough for research stage companies to move forward sufficiently to be attractive to later-stage investors. Another question is whether there is sufficient funding available for the academic research to break out into viable companies. The article explores the role of Big Pharma and other organizations in funding these important research ideas, noting the innovation centers established by several large companies.

There are admittedly more potential companies looking for funding than there are funds even with VCs increasing their plays in early stage. With the big gains in biotech in the last year, more VCs are returning. We will just have to see if innovations suffer from the level of financing.

Highlights for this Coming Week’s Life Science Events

  • BioCentury This Week, See new program Webcast Starting Sunday,March 9, 2014,, Available anytime starting at 9:00 a.m. EDT; Topic: “Medicare Part D: Why Change?” Speakers Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association; Chris Holt, Director of Health Care Policy at the American Action Forum;  Edith Rosato, CEO of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy and Andrew Sperling, Director of Federal Legislative Advocacy at theNational Alliance on Mental Illness
  • CACO-PBSS Workshop, Monday, March 10, 2014; Topic: “Clinical Trials Design & Management Intensive Workshop”
  • Bio2Device Group, Tuesday Evening, March 11, 2014; Topic: “Building a Pearl,” Speaker: Sarvajna Dwivedi, Executive VP of R&D and Co-Founder, Pearl Therapeutics
  • BayBio Lunch and Learn, Tuesday Mid-Day, March 11, 2014; Topic: “BayBio Lunch & Learn:Facilitating R&D Collaborations through the Cloud;” Speaker: Sri Chilukuri, Vice President of Product Marketing for Intralinks
  • BayBio Lunch and Learn, Wednesday Mid-Day, March 12, 2014; Topic: “BayBio Lunch and Learn: Market Access and Reimbursement in a Value-Driven Healthcare Ecosystem;” Speakers: Michael del AquilaHead, Global Pricing and Market Access function in Commercial Planning and Operations, Gilead; Becky Foster, Director of Managed Care for Crescendo Bioscience; and Nina Hill, Senior Director of HEOR at Medivation
  • San Francisco AWIS, Wednesday Evening, March 12, 2014; Topic: “Science and Patent Law;” Panelists: Cara Coburn, PhD, JD- patent attorney, Genentech; Karin Immergluck, PhD- Dir. Tech Mgmt, UCSF Innovation Technology and Alliances; Geeta Kadambi, PhD- CEO and Founder, Riddhi IP LLC
  • Women in Bio, Thursday Afternoon and Evening, March 13, 2014; Event: Mini-conference focused on career opportunities and job environments; Evening Event Speaker: Karen Antman, M.D., Internationally-Known Cancer Researcher, Dean of Boston University Medical School
  • NC ACRP, Thursday Evening, March 13, 2014; Topic: “Clinical Audits and Inspections – Risk Assessment and Mitigation;” Speaker: Michael Donatelli, BS, President and CEO, Insite Quality Assurance, Inc.

UC Berkeley Extension Course, Thursday and Friday, April 10-11, 2014

Course: “Life Science Business and Marketing: Their Integral Role for Success”

  • Dates and Time: Thursday and Friday, April 10-11, 2014; 8:30 am – 5:00 pm for classroom intensive and balance of term for working on term project with gratis access to leading life science database for deals and industry articles
  • Location: Downtown University of California, Berkeley Extension, 425 Market St., 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105
  • Cost: $795, course ID is BUS ADM x442.4
  • See more details and register now. You can locate course online and register at

Find all the details for this coming week’s upcoming events plus those through June 2014 in Audreys picks March 9, 2014. You can also download the pdf of JobsThatCrossedMyDeskThrough March 9 2014 along with Audrey’s Picks by right clicking the highlighted titles. This latter list includes the latest three weeks of positions.

You can always find my weekly blog and listings at


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