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Wasting cash—the decline of the British biotech sector

Undercapitalization and overgenerous boardroom compensation for management have been major contributors to the poor performance of UK biotech.

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Figure 1: Longevity analysis of UK biotech companies.
Figure 2: Private investment in Oxford and Cambridge biotech clusters.
Figure 3: Private finance versus exit valuation.
Figure 4: Boardroom remuneration and company success.
Figure 5: Boardroom shareholding.
Figure 6: Private company CEO salaries.
Figure 7: International experience in European biotech CXOs.
Figure 8: Boardroom shareholding versus salary.


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This article is based on theses submitted by G.S. and M.S.A. in partial fulfillment of the Cambridge University Masters in Bioscience Enterprise programme ( The authors are grateful to JM Finn and Company and the Eastern Region Biotechnology Initiative for support during the preparation of these theses. The authors emphasize that specific mention of a company in this paper is not meant to imply that the company is 'better' or 'worse' than average.

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Correspondence to William Bains.

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The authors declare that they personally hold shares in several of the companies mentioned in this paper. J.M. Finn provides corporate investment services and advice to several of the companies mentioned.

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Smith, G., Akram, M., Redpath, K. et al. Wasting cash—the decline of the British biotech sector. Nat Biotechnol 27, 531–537 (2009).

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