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Venture capital dollars are flooding into biotech, totaling $8.5 billion in 2017 alone. But there’s no one way to fund a startup.

Biotech’s boom has given rise to disparate funding and investment models within the venture capital world, and those nuances have an outsized impact on exactly what kinds of scientific advancements will progress, what kinds will flounder, and how fast any potential treatments can come to market.


Alnylam, for example, which developed the first-ever drug based on a technology called RNA interference, raised $24 million in a 2003 venture round from five investors, including Atlas Venture and ARCH Venture Partners. But Foghorn Therapeutics had just one investor when it launched with $50 million. To some that investor was an obvious one; they spun out from the venture firm Flagship Pioneering.

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