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Care Capital: VC Post-2001

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Care Capital's focus on later-stage programs--driven by its ex-Big Pharma partners' own expertise in more advanced development and marketing--happily coincided with the lower-risk, closer-to-market models which have become fashionable with private and public investors since the 2001 downturn. Does this VC firm have the right model at the right time?

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Jumpstart to Products

Discovery research is an ever more difficult investment to justify, so companies are placing greater emphasis on mining discoveries that have already been made but whose real value remains unexploited. Big Pharma, in part inhibited by habit and current infrastructure, has not moved aggressively in the new direction-but the jumpstart model now dominates small-company strategies and will increasingly translate into the rest of the industry.

Former Big Pharma Executives See Gold in Consolidation's Cast-Offs

Top executives from Big Pharmas, like Jan Leschley of SmithKline and Tony Wild of Warner-Lambert, are now taking a run at venture capital--figuring that their rolodexes and understanding of drug-company requirements will give them a big advantage in starting new companies. The question is whether these contacts will be of much help during periods when financing is difficult--that's when real VC experience comes in handy.

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It has been a bumpy ride for some of the (still modest) number of European biotechs listed on Nasdaq, for various reasons. Yet most expect the direct-to-Nasdaq trend to continue. Europe’s public markets simply cannot compete.

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