Money up but deals edge down for biotech in Q3 as Moderna leads the U.S. venture drive

The third quarter saw more money being pumped into the biotech sphere through venture funds than Q2, but the number of deals were slightly down.

This is according to the latest data for the third quarter, coming out of a MoneyTree report from PricewaterhouseCooper, based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.

The report is a snapshot of how much the capital community has invested in private emerging companies in the U.S., with the total across all industries hitting $10.6 billion from 891 deals. This was down overall on the year-ago period, where dollars and deals are down 36% and 25%, respectively.

For the third quarter, biotech received the second largest amount of venture capital for that three-month period (after the software industry), with $1.8 billion invested into 87 deals--increasing 5% in dollars despite a 16% decrease in deals, compared to the previous quarter. Three of the top 10 deals were from biotechs.  

Investments in the life sciences sector (that combines biotech and medical devices) during the Q3 accounted for $2.5 billion going into 156 deals, increasing 8% in money terms but again decreasing 7% in deals. Investments in life sciences companies accounted for nearly a quarter of all venture capital deployed to the startup ecosystem in Q3, according to the report’s data.

Former Fierce 15 winner Moderna, unsurprisingly given its history, was the biggest biotech in terms of venture funds with $474 million pumped into the firm, with Flagship Ventures one of its key backers. This was the second largest cash injection after California’s Airbnb, which saw $555 million.

Intarcia Therapeutics, also former Fierce 15 winner and diabetes specialist, came second in the biotech stakes and fifth overall with its $183.9 million, while Denali Therapeutics rounded off the top 3 with $130 million.