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San Diego Biotech Looks for a New Approach

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Aired 7/31/09

San Diego's biotech industry has been built on venture capital. But one local industry executive says that won't be the way of the future.

— San Diego's biotech industry has been built on venture capital. But one local industry executive says that won't be the way of the future.

Duane Roth is the CEO of CONNECT, a trade group that has helped many San Diego high-tech businesses get off the ground. And he says the changing economy will force the industry to change its focus and financing. Venture capital funding in San Diego dropped to its lowest level in a dozen years in the first quarter of this year. Roth predicts we'll never the see venture funding levels of past years return, because biotech is too risky for start-up firms with one product. But he says this change is not necessarily bad for the local economy.

"Because our economic impact, in terms of employment in the future, will be the research institutes because there's so much research money and we have such talent here," he says.

Roth says high tech entrepreneurship will take place in companies that do early testing of new ideas that are then sold to venture capitalists or big pharmaceutical firms.

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