Monday, April 2, 2001
The biotech industry has entered a period in which virtually
ANY publicly held company may have difficulty raising money. And while the industry
isn't hurting for cash -thanks to a record $36.8 billion in fundraising in 2000-companies
still need to manage their cash resources efficiently, on the assumption that
failures and setbacks are inevitable, and that money may never again be as easy
to raise as it was last year.
While nobody believed that last year's funding pace was sustainable,
investors didn't anticipate how fast it would come to a screeching halt. Blame
goes to a slumping economy, but a lagging biotech stock market helped put the
funding express on the sidetracks. After slumping 19% in the fourth quarter
of 2000, the BioCentury 100 lost a third of its value in the first quarter,
"outpacing" the 26 percent decline by the NASDAQ Composite and more than doubling
the downturn in the Amex Pharma index (see ". . . Easy Go", A2).