Biotech firms hunker down as venture capital retreats during recession

Columbus Business First

Central Ohio inventors who want to market their medical devices will have to focus on maturing their products for 2009, as venture capital funds look for less “Eureka!” and more “cha-ching.”

The region’s biotechnology startups, nearly all medical device makers, saw more but smaller deals in 2008, says a report on Midwestern health-care venture capital from Cleveland-based BioEnterprise, a university consortium that helps recruit and develop biotech companies. The $6.4 million total was about half the level of investments the previous two years.

Dr. Wayne Poll, a Columbus surgeon whose inventions make laparoscopic surgery easier and less invasive, said after recent meetings with potential investors he’s focusing more on expanding distribution and marketing the products rather than launching his next idea. His company, Minimally Invasive Devices LLC, attracted $1.2 million in VC last year.

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