Essex Woodlands Health Ventures

Essex Woodlands Health Ventures

Dollars: $54.69 million
Deals: 18
Based: Palo Alto, CA; Houston; New York; and London
Website: essexwoodlands.com
Founded: 1985

Another experienced venture player, Essex Woodlands raised its latest fund, a $900 million behemoth, back in 2009. But the majority of the cash is designated for growth equity, with the remainder budgeted for traditional venture investing. And just about everything they do is tied carefully to a near-term healthcare product launch or commercialization.

Some of that money has been invested in biotech companies. Revance Therapeutics, for example, is working on RT-001--a topical formulation of a new treatment to erase crow's feet. Essex Woodlands contributed to a $33 million Series E round earmarked for their Phase III study. But the venture fund has also been particularly active in the medical device sector.

North Carolina-based TearScience won Essex's cash commitment for a $44.5 million Series C in 2010. That money was used to back a commercialization drive for its LipiFlow device, which won FDA approval in late 2011.

Essex also backed the Kona Surround Sound, which treats hypertension by noninvasively ablating nerves in the renal artery. The tech delivers nerve-deadening ultrasound waves from outside the body. Last May Essex Woodlands partnered with Smith & Nephew ($SNN) in a joint venture spinning off its biologics and clinical therapies business into Bioventus. Essex Woodlands landed 51% of the new venture marketing S&N products like the Exogen ultrasound bone healing system.

Essex Woodlands likes buyouts. The venture firm joined Medseek's management in a buyout, handing them control of a software platform designed to help healthcare organizations improve the patient experience and care. And that product focus was also on display when the firm backed IntegeneX's human DNA identification technology. 

For more:
TearScience wins $70M funding commitment for dry eye device
Smith & Nephew to spin off biologics unit into JV
Essex Woodlands gathers $900M fund

-- John Carroll (email | Twitter)

Essex Woodlands Health Ventures
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