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Venture capitalists already have invested more into U.S. life sciences companies in 2017 than in any other prior year, according to data released today by PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Expand chart
Data: PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Dollar details: $12.1 billion into 804 U.S.-based, life sciences companies through the end of September. The dollar volume easily tops last year's record haul of $11.8 billion, and means that life sciences so far this year represents 19.7% of all U.S. venture capital, which is up from 16.5% in 2016. All investment stages have seen median size growth between 2016 and 2017, but early-stage took the biggest bounce from $6.1 million to $10 million.

Three trends driving the boom:

  1. Advancements in areas like computational biology now mean that tech investors can participate in life sciences deals.
  2. Silicon Valley founders and investors have been stung by years of criticism for investing in silly app companies that don't "matter," and many have responded by pushing into health.
  3. Patent cliff issues continue to haunt big pharma, driving new startups that can be acquired to restock the new product shelves.

Go deeper

59 mins ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.

Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to use a $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief framework as a basis for jumpstarting negotiations.

Why it matters: The framework, introduced by a group of bipartisan senators on Tuesday, calls for significantly less funding than Pelosi had previously demanded — a sign that Democrats are ready to further compromise as millions of Americans endure economic hardship.