Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Venture Capital, Hot Spots, Salary Surveys Past, Blade Computing


Last year's June issue of Genome Technology included a feature story that delved into the world of venture capital in the life sciences. Even a year ago, the marketplace for new life science startup companies was becoming a bit tighter than it had been in the past, though investments were still being made. In the first quarter of 2008, four venture-backed life science companies went public and, according to PricewaterhouseCooper's MoneyTree, $1.08 billion was invested in 132 biotechnology deals during that time. These days, investments are more difficult to come by — for the first quarter of 2009, MoneyTree reports that $577 million was invested in 81 deals. However, Chad Waite, managing director of OVP Venture Partners, told our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News earlier this year that "there is no shortage of good ideas just because the economy is bad."

In June 2008 we also looked into the hot and the up-and-coming regions for biotech. The established regions included the Boston/Cambridge area, the Bay Area, and North Carolina's Research Triangle, among many other well-known spots. The upstarts on the list were Alabama, with Rick Myers' move to HudsonAlpha; Oslo with its Cancer Cluster, to which the Norwegian government gave expertise status; and China, particularly Shanghai, where Novartis announced a $100 million R&D center. In January, the Norwegian government unveiled a plan to rescue its life science industry, including the Oslo Cancer Cluster. Part of the plan was to triple innovation loans from $44.8 million to $133 million.

2004 marked GT's second annual salary survey, in which 1,180 of our readers participated. Back then, PhD scientists reported that their median income was in the $75,000 to $99,999 range. Three percent of the respondents had been laid off over the course of the preceding year and four percent had suffered a pay cut. For the stats on this year's salary survey, head to page 36.

That year the magazine also spoke with SUNY Buffalo's Jeffrey Skolnick, who was ahead of the curve and replacing his 4,000-processor cluster with a 1.32 teraflop IBM blade system. The blades, he said, allowed for a smaller footprint. Skolnick has since moved to Georgia Tech, where he heads up the Center for the Study of Systems Biology. One of the facilities at the center is a RAZOR cluster, a 1,000-node IBM cluster that can perform 8.5 trillion calculations per second. As of January 2007, the cluster contained 1,154 blades.

The Scan

Team Tracks Down Potential Blood Plasma Markers Linked to Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Researchers in BMC Genomics found 10 differentially expressed proteins or metabolites that marked atrial fibrillation with heart failure cases.

Study Points to Synonymous Mutation Effects on E. Coli Enzyme Activity

Researchers in Nature Chemistry saw signs of enzyme activity shifts in the presence of synonymous mutations in a multiscale modeling analysis of three Escherichia coli genes.

Team Outlines Paternal Sample-Free Single-Gene Approach for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

With data for nearly 9,200 pregnant individuals, researchers in Genetics in Medicine demonstrate the feasibility of their carrier screening and reflex single-gene non-invasive prenatal screening approach.

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.