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Healthcare in focus
Parag Shah
Group Head of Life Sciences and Senior Managing Director-Hercules Growth Capital
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTGC) is a specialty finance company providing venture debt and equity to venture capital and private equity-backed technology and life science companies at all stages of development. Founded in 2003, the company primarily finances privately held companies backed by leading venture capital and private equity firms and has a market cap of $988.78 million.

The firm's Life Science team has deep domain expertise in biotechnology, pharmaceutical
development and medical device technology. We
aim at helping portfolio companies strategically
navigate the regulatory environment and bringing
new therapies to market through customized financing solutions.

Investing in the Future

Oncology is a highly interesting area in the healthcare segment that will see great developments. Research in this segment has grown manifolds in the past 10 years. A lot has been researched about our genetic sequence, different
types of cancer cells and what the cancer genome actually looks like. The level of insights we have today was not there before. We now know
that cancer is not just one disease buy various different kinds of diseases.
With such information in hand, it is easier to develop therapies which are more focused and effective.

Although chemotherapy and other drugs increase the life span of cancer patients, it also affects the body in a lot of harmful ways. The harsh treatment not only kills the cancer cells but also the healthier cells in the body making one weaker. If therapies become specific, this side effect of chemotherapy can be reduced.
Another interesting development in oncology in the research of Cancer backed vaccine which help the immune system detect cancer cells and fight cancer on its own rather than strictly relying on external agents.

Developing Opportunities

Another area that withholds great opportunity in life science and healthcare sector is the antibiotics segment. We look at companies that are developing novel types of antibiotics. By
identifying and investing in such technologies we always stay ahead of the current trend
among the larger population and hospitals.

Another area where we see immense growth opportunity is the RNA interference (RNAi)space. RNAi, which is also called post transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), is a biological process in which RNA molecules inhibit gene expression, typically by causing the destruction of specific mRNA molecules. It is an alternate approach to drug therapy which makes use of RNA interference and is a naturally occurring mechanism that leads to the "silencing" of genes. This natural mechanism for sequence specific gene silencing promises to revolutionize experimental biology
and may have important practical applications in functional genomics, therapeutic intervention, agriculture and other areas.
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