Sujal Patel has been here before. He weathered the 2009 recession as CEO of Isilon Systems, coming out the other end to sell his company the next year for $2.25B. He’s now CEO of Nautilus Biotechnology, and he’s not taking any big chances in the current economic downturn. As the pandemic boom times fade for the life sciences industry, Patel is not the only CEO in the Seattle area re-assessing how to run a business.
Last year saw record venture capital investment and IPO activity in biotech as 147 companies went public in 2021, and valuations soared. This year, only 25 companies have gone public, and the XBI biotech index fund is down more than 50% from its peak in February 2021. In Washington state, biopharma companies raised $1.37B across 48 deals last year but only $378.1M across 20 deals by September 30 of this year, according to PitchBook.