Brace for more dour figures on venture investment in biotech. Despite some bright spots in life sciences venture investing, a new study finds that VC players in biotech and devices might struggle to sustain investment levels. And one of the few consolation prizes for the companies that won venture deals is that valuations inched up in 2012.
The list of biotechs going public grows longer. With public investors warming to biotech IPOs, Portola Pharmaceuticals has proposed a public debut with a relatively sizable maximum aggregate offering amount of $115 million.
The Durham, NC-based drug developer's stock soared on its first day of trading, with an initial price of $14 per share that shot up 34% to $18.79 per share by the end of the day.
Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund, the VC unit of the Germany-based pharma group, has injected an undisclosed amount of capital into Eyevensys, which uses electro-transfer in a gene therapy approach to treat ocular diseases.
With licenses to breaking discoveries from labs affiliated with MIT and Harvard, Syros Pharmaceuticals has raised $30 million in a Series A round of financing from top venture firms.
David Mott at New Enterprise Associates has spearheaded the development of an orphan drug accelerator that plans to hunt down the best in vivo-stage assets in academia, biopharma and the nonprofits, assemble them in a portfolio of rare disease therapies and mold them into pipeline programs that can be spun out into a slate of new biotech companies.
The biotech says it will use the cash to "accelerate and expand its stem cell technology-based drug rescue programs."
In recent months Proteon has completed a Phase II study for its lead vessel-dilating candidate PRT-201, advancing the program to where Novartis can take its four-year-old option to gobble up the biotech outfit entirely.
Closing in on the selection of its lead cancer program, San Francisco-based Cleave Biosciences has welcomed the deep-pocketed player New Enterprise Associates to its list of venture backers and topped up its Series A with a $10 million investment in its early-stage drug research work.
In another sign that gene therapy has come of age, Paris-based GenSight Biologics is lifting off with a $41 million shot in the arm from a lineup of blue chip VCs, led by a Big Pharma venture arm--Novartis Venture Fund--along with Abingworth, Versant Ventures and Index Ventures.