The Burell report was released recently with a snapshot of the venture investing outlook in early-stage biotech investment during the first quarter of 2010 compared to the last quarter of last year. Overall there was about 15.5% drop in VC investments (to $1.9B) but the good news is that venture investors are increasingly investing in earlier stage deals again and this may also signify a return to embracing risk by some venture capital firms.

Within the Burrell report they looked at seed, series A and B rounds which increased 43% over the same quarter last year. The information below provides an overview of the number of deals and also the percentage increase or decrease of these deals.

Disclosed deals in Biotech     Q1 2009     Q1 2010

Seed, A-B rounds     28     40     42.90%

C and later rounds     12     10     -16.70%

More good news for early stage biotech’s

There’s also additional good news for early-stage biotech’s in regards to the upcoming R&D tax credit which the U.S. Treasury is pushing forward which will for the first time be providing grants in exchange for R&D tax credits. This tax credit was actually as a result, somewhat surprisingly of the highly unpopular patient protection and affordable care act which was signed by Pres. Obama on March 23, 2010.

The legislation allows biotech’s to claim a non-refundable credit for 50% of their qualified investment costs and covered projects for the 2009 and 2010 tax years. The Therapeutic tax credit differentiates itself from previous R&D tax credits for the first time in that cash burning biotech’s can request this tax credit as a grant in efforts to effectively recoup their original investment (up to 50%). The Treasury Department expects to release applications a little later on in the year. Qualification criteria are included in the link attached. This is a very promising development for fledgling biotech’s, especially as it shows that the current administration is thinking about the importance and value of the innovation in the biotechnology industry!