May 3, 2007 -- Venture capital raised by biotech firms worldwide rose by 42 percent to $27.9 billion for 2006, according to an annual report on the industry by Ernst & Young.

Last year, U.S.-based biotech firms raised a record-high $5.4 billion, while the total value of domestic mergers and acquisitions reached $23 billion, the report said.

According to industry watchers cited in the report, the sector's steady growth is expected to continue this year.

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