This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week in biotech focused on cost effectiveness, as everyone from Ontario to Florida and from VCs to pharma companies continue to look for ways to squeeze the most out of every dollar.

In Florida, a report assessing the state’s progress in attracting high value life science jobs showed that in the first six years of its efforts, legislators have spent about $1.4 million for each of the 1,100 jobs created. In the year we’ve been tracking similar data, this is the highest per-job spending we’ve seen.

The Florida report recommended more spending to assist with early-stage capital, which is exactly what Ontario is attempting with its Emerging Technologies Fund. The OETF invests alongside private-sector qualified investors to help Ontario companies get the most from their capital raising efforts. This week the OETF closed its first two deals– an IT company and a cleantech company. Biotech is the third prong of the OETF mandate, and there appear be more deals already in the OETF pipeline, so expect to see some benefits for biotech soon as well.

Also this week, an article on venture capital trends in 2010 emphasized the importance of molecular diagnostics— tests that determine how individual patients will respond to a specific medication. The VCs predict these tests will be critical to improving the efficiency of healthcare spending. AstraZeneca is the most recent example of a company that agrees. It announced a collaboration with a molecular diagnostics company this week that aims to ensure that AstraZeneca is “giving the right treatment, to the right patient, the first time.”

Regardless of the fate of health reform in the U.S., cost containment will continue to be vital to maximizing the value of our public spending. Companies, investors and governments that keep this foremost in mind will emerge as the most successful this century. Keep an eye on the Cross-Border Biotech Blog where we continue to keep an eye on these efforts.

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