The reproducibility discussion involves everyone who funds, authorizes, supervises, plans, conducts and publishes research. This recent LifeSciVC post showed that lacking research rigor may also affect financial returns of Venture Capital (VC) funders of biomedical research who, until now, have not been involved in the discussions or international initiatives aiming to enhance robustness of early phase (preclinical) drug discovery data.
To be fair, Bruce Booth, a partner at Atlas Ventures and a “recovering scientist turned early stage VC” (as he calls himself), did address the issue of biomedical data replication and reproducibility in the past (LINK). And, as many of us know, VCs, corporate and private investors often consider confirming certain critical sets of the data package before deciding about a major investment.
But all this information is usually kept undisclosed and the outcomes of these efforts do not help refine the process of pharmaceutical entrepreneurship.
This is why this post caught our attention – one of the first, if not the first, open communication about replication efforts that affected the investment portfolio.
Investors are very smart people supported by the best advisors (scientific and non-scientific) that money can buy. This is why the impact of replication failures on the Atlas portfolio is apparently not too dramatic and most of the supported companies continue to perform as expected (or even exceed).
In our mind, the scientific community should not only welcome such open communications but also invite Bruce Booth and other members of the investment community to share their views on the measures that enhance research rigor.