Pharma

Is venture capital just a three-state game? (Morning Read)

Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of healthcare: Is venture capital just a three-state game? It was in the second quarter, according to data from the always-insightful research firm CB Insights. A whopping 70 percent of all funding went to just three states–California, Massachusetts and New York, with California taking half […]

Highlights of the important and the interesting from the world of healthcare:

Is venture capital just a three-state game? It was in the second quarter, according to data from the always-insightful research firm CB Insights. A whopping 70 percent of all funding went to just three states–California, Massachusetts and New York, with California taking half of all funding by itself. Makes you wonder if the rest of the companies in flyover territory are just fighting for table scraps–albeit table scraps critical to the future of many startups.

Looking strictly at healthcare investing, it wasn’t a pretty situation with second-quarter funding down 17 percent compared with last year, which was also a fairly bleak year for the industry. Medical devices continue to lead the way, widening the funding gap compared with other categories like pharmaceuticals and biotech.

Avandia’s replacement: We won’t know for sure the fate of diabetes drug Avandia until the FDA decides whether it can stay on the market, even though an advisory committee yesterday recommended that the drug should remain on the market with a revised label. But if it is pulled, what drugs figure to be in line for a sales boost? Popular picks are Takeda’s Actos, Merck’s Januvia, and perhaps Novo Nordisk’s new injectable Victoza, among others.

Support for health reform falling: As always, let’s not overrate the results of one poll. But it’s worth noting a new CBS poll that shows support for reform has dropped 7 percentage points in just two months, because it contradicts what several other polls have shown over recent months. If reform’s popularity continues to decline, election night in November could be brutal for Democrats.

N.C. Blues cutting admin costs: As insurers come under increasing pressure to maximize the amount of money they spend on medical care (and minimize the amount on everything else), Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina revealed plans to cut its administrative costs by 20 percent. But exactly how it’ll do it isn’t clear. The health plan is eliminating open positions and studying changes in its processes, the sale of real estate and everything else related to administrative costs.

Meet ZocDoc: New York-bases startup ZocDoc just pulled in $15 million in venture funding for an “OpenTable for doctors.” The service allows users to view doctors’ schedules online and book appointments across 20 different specialties. So  far it’s available in four cities.

Pharma execs’ worries: The biggest worry for pharma executives is market access, according to a poll of 211 of them. That’s no surprise, given that many European countries are looking for price concessions, Ed Silverman says. What is surprising is that just 24 percent worry about their companies’ pipelines, but maybe that number will rise in the coming years as more and more patents expire and Big Pharma loses sales to generics.

Photo from flickr user Dan Ancona