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'The Gravy Days are Over'

The biotech industry is slowly learning that though investors were once eager to give money to budding innovative drug companies, "the gravy days are over," The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Rockoff and Pui-Wing Tam say. While companies were once able to secure millions in funding, venture capital for biotech has been down in recent years, partly because of the economy, and partly because investors are learning that stock offerings from these companies often have poor returns, Rockoff and Tam add. "Venture capitalists invested a total of $3.92 billion last year in biotechs of all stages, well below the $6.17 billion peak in 2007," they say. "And shares in biotechs that went public last year averaged 29 percent less than their expected midpoint offering price." In addition, large pharmaceutical companies, which often provide funding for biotech through various deals, are starting to demand more successes from these companies.

Some biotechs have started to get creative, seeking out alternative sources of funding, while others have focused on cutting costs. "Ultimately, some promising advances may go unexplored, if startups can't find new ways to secure seed money," Rockoff and Tam say.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.