Chatting with Anders @BIO

I just spent a few minutes with Anders Hove, a healthcare- focused venture capitalist with Venrock. Neither he nor I have spent much time yet in the exhibitioner hall, but Anders did point out that this convention is about learning internal biotech market issues — not about identifying promising new companies (although there are certainly a smattering of those floating around).

One question I had for Anders was how a generalist VC firm like Venrock handles IT-Bio allocation issues. Specifically, it seems that hot IT deals are getting smaller (think today’s Web 2.0 compared to yesterday’s telecom), while the bio deals are staying huge (particularly clinic-intensive pharma rounds). He acknowledged the general perception, but said that the historic Venrock data didn’t bear it out. On average, Venrock will commit $11 million to a bio company (including follow-on allocation), compared to around $8.5 million for an IT company. There is obviously a discrepency, but not a huge one.

He also said that Venrock is hoping to add another investor with a focus on medical devices, since its current healthcare team is almost all focused on pharmaceuticals. Didn’t sound like there were any specifics yet (maybe not even a formal search). I asked what he thought would be the ideal location for a medical device VC to be based, and his answer was either the Bay Area or Twin Cities. Sadly, BIO host Boston didn’t make his top cut…