Venture-Backed Dicerna Cuts First Pharma Deal as Prelude to 'B' Round
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
The startup takes preclinical money from Kyowa Hakko Kirin to target cancer with its alternative RNAi method.
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Dicerna’s debut stood out even in a hot market for biotech IPOs, but it is hard to sort out how much investor enthusiasm was driven by its specific technologies, rub-off from the recent Alnylam/ Sanofi-Genzyme deal, and demands of insiders who wanted liquidity but not dilution.
Which kinds of innovations make for incremental enhancements in the hands of large companies and which are meaningful enough to sustain a venture-backed start-up company? In a mature market for coronary stents dominated by large companies, start-ups developing new stents need to find the answers. Areas of innovation fall into four basic categories: improving stent safety and biocompatibility, avoiding the need for dual antiplatelet therapy, enhancing deliverability, and introducing specialty stents for complex vessels. Three companies profiled here have a plan for taking sufficient market share, reducing risk, and rewarding investors.
New company creation slipped significantly in 2009 as venture capitalists conserved capital and supported existing portfolio companies. In biopharmaceuticals, corporate venture got in at the ground floor while device start-ups continued to see stronger support from smaller, regional investors than traditional VCs.