Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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The amount raised by private companies in November was again bolstered by two large investment rounds that shored-up an otherwise disappointing month for the private sector, a Scrip analysis has found.
There are significant dilemmas facing life sciences venture capitalists buffeted by the simultaneous but distinct insults of global financial calamity and trickier-than-ever biotech partnering, regulatory, and reimbursement environments. Venture's best bet at a return is an uptick in decidedly un-venture PIPE deals that take advantage of public biotechs' miserable valuations, but those deals aren't exactly growing on trees. Despite the surfeit of bad news, there may be a bright side.
Proteomics companies don't want to be seen as database providers, a low-valuation model once pursued by Celera and Incyte. So companies like Myriad Genetics and Oxford GlycoSciences have spun out their database businesses into JVs with IT partners, which provide cash and technology. Both partners benefit: biotechs get valued as budding drug developers and retain access to these tools, while IT companies get a foot in the door of the life sciences markets into which they wish to expand their products and services.
Impatient with the progress of genomics, investors are looking to a new set of proteomics technologies to provide the necessary boost in research productivity. Celera, Incyte, and Myriad, the heads of which we interview in this article, have each created widely different strategies for accessing the new opportunities. Aside from differences in technology approaches, the strategies of all three firms attempt to directly address the investment world's dissatisfaction with platform models-the original business model of both Incyte and Celera. Myriad has taken a low-risk leap into the world of proteomics, spinning off its proteomics tools into a new database company that will map the proteome, delivering Myriad the information it needs for its own product discovery and development programs and selling it at the same time on a non-exclusive basis to subscribers.Celera is radically modifying its information-only strategy, transforming itself into a drug discovery company that will be assisted financially with proceeds from its database business, which will itself be boosted by new proteomic data Celera will create, review before others, and then make available to subscribers. Incyte is continuing to focus on selling information as its base business, but is adding proteomic features to its basic systems through acquisition and internal development. At the same time, it is trading access to its LifeSeq database to new proteomic technology developers for a share either of their downstream product revenues and/or rights to sell the information those products generate.
Drug Discovery Tools
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- Myriad Proteomics, Inc.