Amid renewed optimism in biotech venture capital, Seattle stalwart Frazier Healthcare has pulled down a $377 million fund, surpassing its goal as it scouts for the next wave of emerging drug developers.
Looking at this year's boom in high-dollar biotech IPOs, you can't miss the fingerprints of Third Rock Ventures, with three of the hottest market debuts coming straight from the fund's portfolio. That success is no coincidence, the group says, and its founders gave Nature an inside look at its painstaking process of choosing which companies to bankroll and which to let slide.
Waltham, MA-based Syndax Pharmaceuticals took a big step to the threshold of a key pivotal study for its lead cancer therapy today, completing a $26.6 million venture round. The funds will pay for a Phase III study of entinostat, an HDAC inhibitor which promises to extend the efficacy of a standard breast cancer therapy.
OrbiMed Advisors, an active biotech investor, is apparently scaling down plans for a new pan-Asian fund. OrbiMed Asia filed documents with the SEC for a proposed $300 million fund, well under the $500 million its partners were discussing back at the beginning of the year.
Karyopharm has scored an additional $19 million for its Series B round of financing, padding the $48.2 million raised for the round in May, for a total of more than $67 million, among the largest this year for a drug developer.
A blistering round of IPOs wasn't the only source of fresh cash for biotech companies in the second quarter. The National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers tracked a $1.3 billion gusher of venture capital in the biotech community, a spike of 41% over Q1 as two big rounds in a mix of 103 deals helped drive the surge.
David Mott at New Enterprise Associates has put together a $20 million round to back 3-V Biosciences, an upstart biotech with deep roots in Switzerland's scientific community and an office in Silicon Valley.
Merck Serono CEO Stephan Oschmann has made overtures to biotech entrepreneurs as the pharma group seeks ways to bolster its business after a series of R&D setbacks such as the failure of an experimental oral drug for multiple sclerosis and major layoffs and cutbacks in Geneva, Switzerland.
Effector Therapeutics has rallied marquee investors for a sizable $45 million Series A financing, determined to use discoveries in protein translation to mine for new cancer drugs.
For Amgen and Novartis, investing in the latest fund from Atlas Venture wasn't enough. The Cambridge, MA-based venture firm has struck separate agreements with the two major drugmakers to join forces on biotech startups.