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Biotechnology Boom is Here to Stay, Investors Say

There have been more than 30 initial public offerings of biotechnology companies so far this year, and there’s a line around the block of promising new entrants looking to debut on the public markets.

But don’t call it a bubble. Those in the know are calling it a boom, and saying the good times are likely to continue for biotech, even in the face of clinical setbacks and other bumps in the road.

These were the impressions of investors in both publicly traded and privately held biotechnology companies who served as panelists at the Bio Investor Forum in San Francisco. The conference is organized by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Every area of medical technology has been hammered in recent years by high development costs, the recession, regulatory problems and other maladies. But 2013 has seen biotech roar back to life, especially in terms of new companies trading on the public markets. A surge like this has not been seen since 2000, VentureSource data shows, when 46 biotechnology startups went public.

While some have referred to this as an “IPO window,” indicating that it could just as easily slam shut again, investors at the Bio Investor Forum characterized the phenomenon differently.

“There is no reason to believe this window is going to shut any time soon,” said Evan McColloch, a portfolio manager with Franklin Templeton Investments. “As far as I can tell, this will continue for a while.”

Read more: Wall Street Journal (blog) Biotechnology Boom is Here to Stay, Investors Say