As biotech venture funding plods along at a middling pace, A-list investor OrbiMed has bagged $735 million for its 5th fund, cash earmarked for life sciences companies across all stages of development.
Over the last few months, Carlos Paya has been filling out his management team at Seattle-based Immune Design. And today the biotech CEO detailed an injection of $32.5 million in venture cash--with the near-term prospect of adding $16.5 million more--to finance the biotech's efforts to nail proof-of-concept data on its two top cancer vaccines.
California VC Versant Ventures is putting together another $200 million fund, according to a regulatory filing, building up its chest as biotech investments maintain their sluggish pace.
First-time venture deals in biotech cratered to a 17-year low in the first three quarters of 2013, but that doesn't mean startups are starving. As The Burrill Report points out, despite the VC drought, about a quarter of all equity deals in that period went into Series A rounds, meaning early-stage companies are getting creative and nailing down alternative funding sources.
Biotech companies in the U.S. drew a weak $852 million in venture support over the past quarter, a distinct downturn over a burst of new financing rounds in the second quarter. That dollar figure represented a 39% plunge from the second quarter, though the smaller bankroll was divided among 123 deals, with a 10% jump in the number of companies involved.
Stockholm-based Pharmalink AB is banking $15 million from a C round designed to get one drug through a Phase IIb study and position another therapy for a pivotal trial of its own.
Even as some biotechs with no human data at all were being feted on Wall Street with over-the-top IPOs, the Phase IIb-proud Regado wound up having to slash its share price from a projected range of $14 to $16 a share to a mere $4.
Civitas Therapeutics has scored fresh financing en route to potential late-stage development of an inhaled form of levodopa to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Bay City Capital led the $38 million Series B round, which follows the start of a Phase IIb study for the startup's Parkinson's candidate CVT-301.
Venture firms have traveled a variety of new routes to limit risks and score returns in biotech, and the Wall Street Journal has covered how Clarus Ventures and OrbiMed Advisors have found potentially lucrative ways of investing in the pipelines of established pharma companies.
Swedish drugmaker Meda AB has agreed to snap up asthma drug developer Acton Pharmaceuticals in a buyout deal worth at least $135 million. The acquisition would give Meda rights to Acton's FDA-approved Aerospan treatment for asthma.