Biotech firms in Maryland and Virginia landed $91.7 million in venture funding for the first half of this year.
“There’s obviously a critical-mass element you get in Silicon Valley. It’s its own ecosystem,” said Julia Spicer, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association in McLean, Va. “When you come to Boston you have a long financial perspective as well. This is not going to be the Valley, and it’s not going to be Boston, but it is going to be something that they will not be either.”
There seems to be a smaller amount of early-stage capital coming in, said Spicer of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association, and most of it comes through government grants. Both Maryland and Virginia have state-run seed financing programs. Venture philanthropy also has become a factor, one example being the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Bethesda, which has funded pharmaceutical research and development.
But the region is working to get more VC attention. This September, Bethesda will host the Mid-Atlantic Bio Conference, designed primarily to unite companies and potential investors. It’s a joint venture of MAVA, Virginia trade association VaBio, and the Tech Council of Maryland (parent of MdBio).