Lately, there’s been a whole lot of bemoaning of this and that to explain why VCs are abandoning the biotech and device space and why strategics are slowing early-stage funding. Lawmakers and regulators have made it too tough to IPO. Lawmakers and regulators have made it too tough to get anything approved at the FDA.
Thing is, companies are still able to bring products to other markets, and this may be where some late-stage funding capital is headed. Washington doesn’t have many solutions that will help VCs make timely enough exits for their LPs, so perhaps testing out other marketplaces will be the best way to show the U.S. what it’s missing.
Still, we kicked off the fourth quarter of 2011 with market turmoil, and quite a few big late-stage deals in the device and drug spaces got done. VCs are finding more strategics willing to partner up with private capital. Maybe the deals closing out 2011 will provide investors and entrepreneurs with a roadmap to next year’s successful investments. One thing’s for sure: late-stage deals are still attracting plenty of healthcare, device and biotech VCs.
The Lowdown: arGEN-X is a bio-pharmaceutical company developing human monoclonal antibodies.
The Haul: $37 million, or 27.5 million Euro, earlier this month.
The Backers: Orbimed Advisors and Seventure Partners co-led the round, but Forbion Capital Partners, Credit Agricole Private Equity, LSP, BioGeneration Ventures, the Erasmus Biomedical Fund, Thuja Capital and VIB pitched in.
The Lowdown: Biocartis is a Swiss developer of compact molecular diagnostic systems.
The Haul: The company reeled in a $100 million (71 million Euro) round last month.
The Backers: Always news when a big strategic shows up at the table. Debiopharm Group, Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., the Wellcome Trust, Korys, Valiance and Biovest all chipped in.
The Lowdown: Quanticel is a biotech company developing drugs to treat cancer.
The Haul: $45 million, about a month ago.
The Backers: This one is a bit interesting. Versant Ventures, the biotech and healthcare VC that manages more than $1 billion, linked up with Celgene Corp., the listed, New Jersey-based biopharma company, to launch a series of co-investments together in cancer drug companies. Perhaps it is, in fact, a sign that biopharma-focused VCs are having difficulty raising funds and distributing cash as widely as they would like. But if this is a sign of things to come, the strategic opportunities for the best startups only seem to grow.
The Lowdown: NanoString Technologies is a developer of molecular diagnostic tools.
The Haul: $20 million in a Series D financing.
The Backers: Once again, it’s nice to see strategics getting involved. This time, GE is the strategic backer and was joined by ex-Genzyme exec Henri Termeer, Clarus Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, OVP Venture Partners and BioMed Ventures.
The Lowdown: Sensors for Medicine and Science Inc. is a Maryland-based medical device company.
The Haul: The company’s Series D raised $54.1 million in early November.
The Backers: Delphi Ventures led the round, which also included New Enterprise Associates, HealthCare Ventures, Anthem Capital and Greenspring Associates.
The Lowdown: Cambridge, Mass.-based Arteaus Therapeutics develops drugs to help prevent migraines.
The Haul: It takes a lot of cash to stop a serious headache. Specifically, $18 million.
The Backers: OrbiMed Advisors and Atlas Venture teamed up on the financing.
The Lowdown: Imagen Biotech develops treatments to treat blinding diseases, like dry AMD.
The Haul: In October, Imagen locked down a whopping Series A of $40 million.
The Backers: Awful small crowd for such a big round—investors include SV Life Sciences, Novo Ventures, and Fidelity Biosciences.
The Lowdown: Foundation Medicine Inc. is a Mass.-based cancer diagnostics company.
The Haul: The second-biggest early-stage deal of the bunch, Foundation Medicine reeled in a $33.5 million Series A round in October.
The Backers: Some all-stars showed up on this list: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Google Ventures joined Third Rock in the round.