Biotech companies seek funding from nonprofits

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In addition to raising money through venture capital firms and launching stock offerings, biotech companies in Massachusetts are increasingly turning to nonprofit foundations dedicated to fighting serious diseases for another source of funding.

For example, The Boston Globe reported that the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has given approximately $25 million to 22 companies, including Biogen Idec, Genzyme and Tolerx; all located in Cambridge, Mass.

CenterWatch Monthly, an industry publication, said that disease foundations invested roughly $75 million in the biotech industry in 2007, up from $7 million in 2000, reported the Globe.

“It’s becoming a significant method of financing,” Robert Coughlin, president of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, told the Globe. He also said his council is considering ways to help bring more foundations and biotech companies together.

Once companies start showing positive results, the Globe reported that disease advocates can usually raise the money on their own to bring a drug to market.