Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Commentary
  • Published:

In defense of life sciences venture investing

An Erratum to this article was published on 09 January 2012

This article has been updated

Contrary to widely held perceptions, data on venture returns show that life sciences startups have outperformed other sectors over the past decade.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: IRRs for venture capital in different sectors.
Figure 2: Distribution of investment multiples across different sectors.
Figure 3: Post-IPO performance of technology versus life sciences companies backed by venture capital.

Change history

  • 11 July 2011

    In the version of this article initially published, the x axis in Figure 1 should not have contained the category “Technology.” In addition, on p.579, col. 3, paragraph 1, the last sentence should have read “comparative realized performance” instead of “comparative performance.” The errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.


  1. Booth, B.L. Nat. Biotechnol. 27, 705–709 (2009).

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Austin, S. Venture Capital Dispatch (26 February 2011) <>

Download references


The authors would like to thank the NVCA and J. Taylor.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Bruce L Booth.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

B.L.B. and B.S. participate in partnerships that invest in both LS and Tech venture capital, and have a pecuniary financial interest in the success of those investments.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Booth, B., Salehizadeh, B. In defense of life sciences venture investing. Nat Biotechnol 29, 579–583 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Translational Research

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Translational Research newsletter — top stories in biotechnology, drug discovery and pharma.

Get what matters in translational research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Translational Research