Is the biotech venture glass half empty or half full?

Following a near-death experience in the first quarter, the venture crowd reported a big surge in the amount of fresh capital available for the life sciences industry in Q2. But despite the improved fortunes, the analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree say the VCs have only recovered to levels last seen in the mid-90s. And that has James Blair, a partner at Domain Associates, fretting about the future of biotech venture rounds.

Venture funds "in our area are hurting, and this will have long-term implications for venture capital in general," he tells the New York Times, which offers a leisurely review of the capital drought that has hit the drug and device development world. "Without new communities of capital," he said, "we worry about where we will find other investors to participate in our best opportunities in two to three years."

Failure in this environment is a ticket to the auction block. Case in point: Orqis Medical Corporation, which failed to get an approval on its technology to enhance blood flow to damaged hearts. Now its for sale to anyone else who wants to give it a try--provided they can raise the cash.

- read the story from the New York Times