Longitude Capital pumps $385M into new life sciences fund

Menlo Park, CA-based Longitude Capital has rounded up $385 million for a new life sciences investment fund, exceeding its initial goal of $325 million. That money will be reserved for biotechs and device companies that have shown promise in mid-stage development or nearing commercialization, targeting a three- to five-year time horizon on payoffs.

Longitude Venture Partners I wasn't the most prolific venture player in the industry, but it was used to back a lineup of 20 companies, including Amarin, Aptus Endosystems, AqueSys, CardioDx (a 2012 FierceMedicalDevices Fierce 15 company), Civitas Therapeutics, Corcept Therapeutics, Jazz Pharmaceuticals ($JAZZ) and NxStage Medical. 

Any interested biotechs looking for a new investor here would do well to learn venture-speak.

"We believe that Longitude Capital's investment strategy is well-suited to current market conditions," said Patrick Enright, Longitude co-founder and managing director in a prepared statement. "In the evolving venture capital market, our experience with PIPEs, spin-outs and recapitalizations, combined with our proactive research to identify contrarian opportunities and 'special situations' helps us exploit value dislocations and accelerate returns."

The overall trend in venture capital for life sciences has been pointing down now. In the second quarter the NVCA reported that 90 venture deals raised $697 million, a 42% plunge from the same period last year. Startups found it harder than ever to raise fresh cash, and Longitude is unlikely to change that equation in the years ahead. 

- here's the press release

Special Report: The Top 15 Biotech Venture Investments in H1 2012