–San Francisco, the Palace Hotel, Bio Investor Forum Day 2, October 9, 2013. The meeting wrapped up with its Closing Plenary: Early Stage Venture Financing — Will Current Trends Continue in 2014? The Plenary was structured as a panel discussion that included moderator Luke Timmerman — Xconomy, Srini Akkaragu — Sofinova Ventures, Brian Atwood — Versant Ventures, Alexis Borisy — 3rd Rock Ventures, Maria Chavez — AbbVie Biotech Ventures, Andrew Schwab — 5AM Ventures. LukeTimmerman opened the discussion by saying that the big story of 2013 is the boom in biotech IPOs. He said that in the last few years many VCs have dropped out – about half of the VCs became vampires.
The discussion opened with comments from the panel about the string of biotech IPOs that emerged in 2013. They seemed pleased that there were IPOs and wondered if the situation was sustainable into 2014 or beyond. Others commented that a biotech IPO is at an early part of a long series of steps to make a drug and that they have seen this process over and over.
Some commented about the apparent high quality of the recent crop of companies, saying that a lot of the areas in biology have a lot of unknowns and is really risky. Companies that are able to pick out the small pieces that are well known can go forward. The advances in biology amassed over the last twenty years has enabled many of the biotech companies to do IPOs.
As the discussion continued, the topics ranged the share of VC money invested in companies, to partnerships, syndication, and the short list of “go to” financial and VC companies. They also spoke about crowd funding, YouTube, using big data for biomarkers. They see change coming with Accountable Care Organizations, and reimbursement issues.
From what I could see, we can expect to see more biotech IPOs in 2014.