Massachusetts-Silicon Valley biotech rivalry heats up

Biotech investing caught fire with venture capitalists over the past couple years and so has the rivalry between Massachusetts and Silicon Valley as the center of U.S. investing.

The third quarter of this year saw Massachusetts again capture the crown from Silicon Valley after losing it a quarter before, according to data from Thomson Reuters. The rivalry has been a back-and-forth contest during the past 12 months, with the valley in the lead for two quarters and Massachusetts emerging on top during the other two. (See table: U.S. venture capital biotech investing, Q3 2015.)

Not since 2012 has Massachusetts been such as a consistent rival in biotech investing to the valley.

There are good reasons for this competition. Innovation built on advances in genomic science is fueling product development at a time when medicine is going molecular and progress is taking place in oncology, neurology and drug-discovery tools.

Biotech investing in U.S.-based startups rose 37 percent in 2014 and is poised for another hike this year, according to data from the MoneyTree Report put together by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters. Money being pumped into Silicon Valley and Massachusetts startups has climbed, as well.

In the recently completed third quarter, capital going to Massachusetts startups rose to $741.9 million, topping the $605.4 million earmarked for companies in the valley. The second quarter was a reversal, with valley companies receiving $729.9 million and Massachusetts startups coming away with $488.7 million, MoneyTree data shows.

So far in the fourth quarter, financing in both locations is neck and neck at a bit over $60 million.

Other major centers in the United States are San Diego and the New York metropolitan region, though funding in both trails significantly. The Midwest and Northwest also have consistent streams of biotech fundings.