The optical properties and electronic structure of AlPO4, SiO2, Type I collagen, and DNA were examined to gain insight into the van der Waals-London dispersion behavior of these materials. Interband optical properties of AlPO4 and SiO2 were derived from vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy and spectroscopic ellipsometry, and showed a strong dependence on the crystals’ constituent tetrahedral units, with strong implications for the role of phosphate groups in biological materials. The UV-Vis decadic molar absorption of four DNA oligonucleotides was measured, and showed a strong dependence on composition and stacking sequence. A film of Type I collagen was studied using spectroscopic ellipsometry, and showed a characteristic shoulder in the fundamental absorption edge at 6.05 eV. Ab initio calculations based on density functional theory corroborated the experimental results and provided further insights into the electronic structures, interband transitions and vdW-Ld interaction potentials for these materials.