The biotech VC world is in crisis. Just in the space of a few weeks, some venerable names have made some disturbing news. Prospect Venture Partners said it was unable to raise a new fund, Morgenthaler Ventures and Advanced Technology Ventures said they are splitting off their life sciences teams to raise a new merged life sciences fund, and Scale Venture Partners said it’s getting out of the life sciences investment business to focus more on high-tech.
Questions are circulating throughout the life sciences community about what this upheaval will mean for the future of innovation in new drugs, devices, and diagnostics. If Big Pharma is cutting R&D, government research budgets are being tightened, and venture capitalists have less money to invest in startups, where is the innovation going to come from?
This is a question that people are clearly going to wrestle with for some time. So I’m excited to bring this issue out into the open through a live chat on Twitter with a biotech VC insider. Daphne Zohar, the founder and managing partner of Boston-based PureTech Ventures, has agreed to take questions from me and any readers who would like to join the conversation on Twitter.
PureTech, for those who don’t know, bills itself as a “venture creation” company rather than a traditional venture capital firm. Whatever you call it, PureTech looks to invest in, and incubate, “big idea” biotech startups based on input it gets from some seasoned Big Pharma veterans and leading scientists. Zohar has been an outspoken voice against business as usual in biotech VC land for a while—which you can see from her Xconomy guest editorial in August 2009. In that post, she advised VCs to “stop devouring entrepreneurs.”
Here’s how the chat will work. It will start at Noon Eastern/9 am Pacific time on Tuesday, Nov. 22. It will go for about 30 minutes. I’ll send questions from my personal account on Twitter, @ldtimmerman, and from @xconomy. Zohar will respond from her account (@daphnezohar). We will keep track of the running Q&A dialogue under the searchable hash tag #bioVC.
That’s all. If you have any questions you’d like to pose to Zohar, or you just want to see what she has to say, tune in on Twitter at Noon Eastern/9 am Pacific on Nov. 22. See you there.
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