New biotech venture firm targets private/public deals

Corey GoodmanA group of biotech veterans which includes the prolific Corey Goodman (pictured) has come together to launch a new life sciences venture firm dubbed VenBio. And they're not planning to stick with developers solely in the private sphere.

The traditional approach to biotech investing, says Managing Director Kurt von Emster, is to back private companies until they go public and then cash out. But in biotechnology, he insists, IPOs are another means of obtaining financing. The stock ends up being so thinly traded that venture backers can't cash out. And that leaves a whole host of public life sciences companies looking very much like their private counterparts. So von Emster and his colleagues at the newly-hatched VenBio tell the Wall Street Journal that they plan to invest in both public and private life sciences companies.

Von Emster comes to VenBio from MPM Capital, joining Goodman--who had headed up Pfizer's biotech venture at one stage--along with Robert Adelman, a veteran of OrbiMed and former Morgan Stanley head of health care Paul Brooke. The firm, which officially launched at the beginning of the year, is based in San Francisco with an office in New York.

- here's the story from the Wall Street Journal