Essex Woodlands strides to a new $750M venture fund for biotech, healthcare

Prolific healthcare investor Essex Woodlands is well along the way toward raising a big new fund for venture and equity investing. The firm filed papers with the SEC recently stating that its partners had gathered $221.5 million of a planned $750 million fund--Esssex Woodlands Fund IX--which is expected to be the successor to its last big fund launched in 2009.

Essex Woodlands is a global player, with partners scattered from Palo Alto to New York and London. Last year FierceBiotech's ranking of the most active venture players in biotech and med tech put Essex Woodlands in the 13th spot, with 18 deals that invested $55 million in new biotech and med tech companies.

It's not all about cutting-edge drugs at the firm. One of its more recent biotech gambles was made on Revance Therapeutics ($RVNC), which has been developing a new therapy to rid the world of crow's feet. Revance counts as a definite win at Essex. The biotech raised $96 million in an IPO last February, pricing its shares at the top of the range.

On the medical devices side of the business, Essex Woodlands added to a $44.5 million round for TearScience, which won an FDA approval for its LipiFlow device back in 2011. Essex Woodlands also has an interest in healthcare IT. 

Essex Woodlands is known for the occasional early-stage investment, but tends to steer clear of seed rounds for fledgling outfits. Back in 2009, with the financial crisis still reverberating in the global economy, the firm had to trim its original plan to raise a billion dollars. Now it's evidently stepping back again, though it still plans to raise a pile of cash that would qualify as one of the biggest new funds of the year in the healthcare sector.

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