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Is there a silver lining for biotechnology?

Even in Germany things are looking bleak
Even in Germany things are looking bleak

Following on from Amie’s recent post on the Canadian venture capital markets, it seems that the sentiment in Europe isn’t much better. From Bio-Europe 2008 in Germany a report echoes many of the same themes—namely that it continues to be very difficult to raise any new money, and that the length of the current crisis will be measured in years rather than months. Furthermore, as biotech continues to deteriorate, Burrill & Company reports that 30% of the public biotechnology companies they track were facing NASDAQ delisting until the exchange changed its rules around minimum bid price and market capitalization. The report also suggests that until things turn around, biotech will have to look to emerging markets in India and China for potential partners.

The one potential silver lining may be the outcome of the recent US election.

Obama plans to lift the ban on federally funded stem cell research in the US, prompting one American researcher to liken the democrat’s win to “watching the Berlin Wall fall.” Increased NIH funding in basic research will undoubtedly create new opportunities for researchers in Canada and the US, and will hopefully lead to more success stories like this one published recently in The Lancet. The impact of Obama’s planned changes to the US healthcare system on big pharma is a little harder to gauge. BCG reports that company executives believe enabling Medicare to negotiate drug prices will negatively affect pharmaceutical revenues, but that this will be somewhat balanced by the president elect’s plan to provide healthcare coverage to all Americans. Change indeed.