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Record Year for VC Funding in Genomics Firms?

The total amount of venture capital investing in genomics firms rose to $392 million in 2012, up from $332 million in 2011, according to the blog Seqonomics.

The amount is the most in VC funding to genomics firms that Seqonomics has found, going back to 2006. However, rather than there being more VC deals in 2012, Sanger Institute postdoctoral fellow Art Wuster says that the higher amount in total investments results from a higher average for each investment.

The 16 investments in 2012, in fact, are the fewest since 2008 when there were 11 deals. But the average amount in investments was $24.5 million, compared to $15.1 million in 2011, and the highest figure in the seven years that the blog analyzed.

"For genomics startups this means that it may be harder to get funding, but that once you get it, it will be generous," Wuster says.

In August, Wuster posted a similar projection, saying the total number of VC funding into genomics firms would surpass 400 million for 2012. After receiving some criticism for his evaluation, "[t]he most important one [being] that VC investments in the first half of the year are not a good predictor of investments in the second half, as VCs prefer to invest in certain months due to tax reasons," he reanalyzed his data and found that "my linear extrapolation of VC investments until the end of the year is a reasonable fit to the actual investments."

What exactly comprises a genomics company is amorphous, Wuster acknowledges, saying that that will be the subject of a future post.

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