Outspoken Avalon founder offers unvarnished opinions on biotech investing

About a year-and-a-half ago Avalon Ventures' founder Kevin Kinsella caused a stir when he attacked pharma companies for their "predatory" deals with biotech companies. Now the San Diego-based investor is back, offering his hometown newspaper some highly quotable views on biotech investing, the personalized med trend, the futility of gene sequencing and more. 

On biotech versus Internet investing: "Nothing could be more expensive than getting a drug approved. Nothing could be cheaper than to start an Internet company. If you're talking about therapeutics-based biotech, since that's where all the money is, then every idea is a big idea.

"If you can cure even an orphan disease, like Meniere's, Lou Gehrig's or the lysosomal storage diseases, then there's hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, of market value in solving the problem. If you're talking the Internet, every idea is a small idea until proven otherwise." 

On getting funded: "People who have bad ideas, who can't get funded, they think there's a lack of capital. But if they're truly insanely great ideas, they'll get funded."

On personalized meds: "I'm very skeptical of personalized medicine. We're already bumping up against the physical age limits of homo sapiens. What more can you do to extend life? Most of the things that you can do, that far outweigh what you might get from a pill, are lifestyle, watching what you eat, getting enough sleep, enough exercise and avoiding stress.

"Yet people still smoke, and they drink to excess. They consume too many fats, too much sugar. Getting your complete genome sequenced, to find genotypic traits that are going to tell you more about your health? It won't do us much good, and, frankly, I don't think people really care. If they did, wouldn't they just change their lifestyle?"

- here's the interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune

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