Life sciences investor Hatteras Venture Partners has seen some sweeping changes in its native North Carolina over the past year, as anchor tenant GlaxoSmithKline is shedding more than 1,000 local jobs and disrupting the local biotech ecosystem. But all that displaced talent has created a wealth of potential for new startups, Hatteras said, and the firm has put together $90 million for a new fund designed to back the next generation of promising companies.
Having played a major role in making consumer genomics feasible, Illumina is now looking to shape how the nascent sector develops. The company has teamed up with big-name VCs to create Helix, a deep-pocketed startup that is one part massive next-generation sequencing operation, one part app store for genomics.
Wave Life Sciences, co-founded by famed Harvard chemist Gregory Verdine, put together a $66 million B round to fund its work on a new class of drugs that promise to home in on the genetic defects responsible for diseases.
Boston-based Rhythm has gone back to the venture well to draw up a fresh $40 million in backing from some A-list investors to fuel a mid-stage program for rare genetic disorders linked with a lethal level of obesity.
A year after getting bounced from a turbulent Sarepta, Art Krieg is prepping for his next act in biotech, snatching a failed lead immunology drug from the dying Zurich-based Cytos Biotechnology and taking a second stab at a near-term success with a new company that will tackle the red-hot immuno-oncology field.
Editas quickly emerged as one of the first biotech upstarts with potentially game-changing gene editing technology in its hands. Now it's rounded up a $120 million megaround to speed its way through the next two years of research, setting up its lead clinical programs for human testing with a gang of investors that includes legendary software magnate Bill Gates and leaving the biotech poised to jump into the IPO queue at the time of its choosing.
Immuno-oncology biotech Cold Genesys raised a $10 million B round, rallying a stable of Chinese financiers as it moves forward with a late-stage cancer therapy.
Venture investor Foresite Capital closed a $450 million new fund, its largest ever, and is setting out to find the next generation of promising drug developers.
Last year Conkwest was just another small, largely unknown biotech with big plans in immuno-oncology. But after biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong bought in and took the CEO title, renaming the company NantKwest, it's now leaping onto the scene with a record-setting IPO that establishes a market cap baseline at a whopping $2.6 billion.
Non-VC or crossover investors are helping drive the rebound in IPOs among healthcare companies. And it's proving to be a winning strategy for both investors and the newly public companies.