Survey says: Canadian biotechs in big trouble

BIOTECanada just checked the temperature of the country's biotech industry and found that a bad financial fever appears to be getting worse.

At the beginning of this month seven out of 10 biotechs said they didn't have enough cash to fund a year's worth of operations. That's up from 50 percent who reported the same funding limitations last January, as the world recoiled from a global economic crisis that has cut off traditional sources of investments for developers. Without some new short-term funding options the industry organization says the country stands to lose 7,000 R&D jobs. And that is on top of the 2,500 jobs that have already been lost.

It's not unusual, of course, for biotech companies to have a limited amount of money in the bank. But when investors bow out of new funding rounds, as we have seen around the world, burn rate anxiety runs rampant. The biotech association says it is pushing Industry Canada to offer up a loan program than can get developers through the Valley of Death.

"These worrying statistics point to further layoffs of highly educated scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs in the fields of agriculture, medical innovation, renewable energy production and industrial research. By potentially losing its international foothold, Canada may be going down a path where it is unable to provide the necessary environment a stable knowledge-based economy needs to retain this talent," said Brad Thompson, president and CEO of Calgary's Oncolytics.

- check out the release