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The Case of the Missing Venture Capital

Venture capital firms are largely staying away from biotech, says Forbes' Bruce Booth. Reduced capital is a cyclical issue, and even with the problems in the biotech sector, bioentrepreneurs are still raising billions of dollars, he says. But what's really concerning is that the number of venture firms investing in biotech is shrinking and they're becoming less diverse. "Even in a capital constrained world — and clearly the data suggest biotech venture is getting leaner — one of the biggest constraints on the ecosystem is the bandwidth of individual, active investors: what new startups are you working on forming, how helpful you are to the entrepreneurs you're backing, what existing portfolio companies do you spend time on, how effectively are you leveraging your network for the portfolio, how many frogs (new opportunities) are you kissing, etc. …," Booth says. "And as an active investor looking for syndicate partners in our portfolio, the dwindling 'available bandwidth' of the biotech VC universe is a real concern." Unfortunately, he adds, this is unlikely to change soon.

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.