Venture capital’s contribution to the technology and Internet sectors are well understood, with VC partnering with the founders of iconic brands like Facebook, Uber, and Netflix. What is not as well understood is how venture is tackling the world’s deadliest diseases and afflictions through the patient investment of capital in life science startups. A prominent example is Genentech, the world’s first biotechnology company, which was founded in 1976 by a venture capitalist and a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Today, venture is building on past success to solve our nation’s most pressing health care crises, like lymphoma, multiple myeloma, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis, and many others.
Small, venture-backed companies play a critical role in bringing groundbreaking medical innovation to market that diagnoses, treats, or cures previously intractable diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS. These fast-growing and hungry new enterprises are responsible for a considerable amount of breakthroughs in life sciences, so much so that drug companies now rely on acquisitions for three-quarters of their drug pipelines rather than develop new products internally. In many other cases, VC-backed life science startups grow into successful enterprises of their own, with 51 having gone public in 2015. In fact, life science startups drove two-thirds of all VC-backed IPOs in 2015. Read more