Reporter with Silicon Hills News

B4BdRAbCcAE_rULBuilding a regional life science ecosystem requires venture capital.

And San Antonio has a shortage of venture capital, said John Kerr with Texas Next Capital.

“The critical factor, I don’t care whether you’re in San Antonio or Timbuktu, for all of these companies, is access to capital,” Kerr said. “These are ventures that are heavily dependent on capital.”

Life science startups also don’t generate a lot of revenue initially, Kerr said.

He spoke Thursday morning on a panel on “Building a Regional Ecosystem to Foster the Growth of Regenerative Medicine and Other Life Science Companies,” at the World Stem Cell Summit 2014 at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio. Other panel members included Ann Stevens, head of BioMed SA, Ed Davis with the San Antonio Economic Development Corp. and Randy Goldsmith with the Texas Technology Development Center. Kenneth P. Trevett, with the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, moderated the panel.

Targeted Technologies is raising a fund focused on the life science industry in San Antonio and Sante Ventures in Austin has a fund for financing life science companies, Kerr said. But more is needed, he said.

The City of San Antonio is providing cash

The City of San Antonio is an investor in local life sciences companies, said Davis with the San Antonio Economic Development Corp..

“What we’re doing is kind of unique,” Davis said. “We’re using public dollars to help fuel our life sciences industry.”

In 2010, the City of San Antonio committed $10 million to invest in InCube Labs through 2015. InCube Labs, a life sciences research lab moved three of its life science startups to the city from San Diego. It also received $9.2 million from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. The biotech companies include Corhythm, Neurolink and Fe3 Medical.

Last month, the City of San Antonio invested $1.75 million in Covalor Medical, a new medical device development and manufacturing company. The City has also invested $300,000 in Innovative Trauma Care and $200,000 in Stem BioSystems.

“Long term we’re going to create a self-sustaining economic development fund,” Davis said.