PwC sees big 2Q jump in biotech venture investments

The numbers guys crunched the venture investments tracked by Thomson Reuters and concluded that the life sciences industry rebounded nicely from a bleak first quarter. Altogether the life sciences, a combination of biotech and medical devices, saw a 52 percent increase in dollars and a 36 percent spike in the number of deals done as venture investors backed developers with $2.1 billion.

"The rise in companies lining up to go public in the Life Sciences space was likely a driver of this strong second quarter rebound," said Tracy T. Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture capital practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "It takes several quarters to establish a clearly sustainable growth trend, but the data looks good so far." Investments in the field totaled $3.4 billion for the first half, up 26 percent over the same period a year ago, when many venture firms were recoiling from the recession.

That's a lot better news than PwC offered after the first quarter, when the sector experienced a stomach-churning 27 percent decline in venture funding. Biotechnology is traditionally a money-losing industry, relying on venture dollars to fuel its way through to profitability or a buyout.

Significantly, early-stage investing enjoyed the biggest jump, with venture groups staking $751 million on fledgling developers. That's an increase of 83 percent over the first quarter. Late-stage funding slipped. PwC says that biotech remains the number one sector for venture investing in the U.S., a title the industry has held since early 2005.

- here's the PwC release for a full breakdown of the numbers

Special Report: Top 5 Biotech Venture Capital Deals, H1 2010. Report >>