Banks and countries aren't the only institutions undergoing stress tests. Young European biotech companies have always had to meet the stress tests established by investors, but the experience of the past four years has led VCs and public fund managers to shift their tests toward the seemingly incompatible demands for greater innovation and faster exits.

Given pharma's desire to bring in products with a reimbursable profile - not just an approvable one - VCs and public equity managers are looking only for assets with a high level of differentiation.