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Quirks and Quarks of Vancouver Biotech

By March 1, 2017No Comments

Quark Venture, a venture capital (VC) fund launched in 2016, has followed through with its promise of investing in prominent Vancouver biotech companies. The US$500 million fund, the largest of its kind in Canada, is expected to have a significant impact in the biotech industry both locally and nationwide.

With over two thirds of research funding at the University of British Columbia allocated to the Life Sciences, UBC has provided a nidus for numerous innovative ideas and products in biotechnology. However, many UBC-initiated start-ups move south upon expansion, leaving Vancouver with few mid to large-sized biotech companies. While the arrival of Quark Venture promises new opportunities in the biotechnology industry, will its investments improve the longevity of biotech companies in Vancouver?

Canadian biotech has long been plagued by a lack of capital to assist in the transition of promising start-ups to more stable mid-sized companies. Unlike traditional tech companies which may easily transition with seed funding of a couple of million dollars, the biotechnology field is considerably more expensive, as rigorous clinical trials are often required for them to reach midmarket status.