NovaQuest lands $459M fund for goal-line dealmaking

Biopharma backer NovaQuest has closed a $459 million fund, cash the company will use to push promising, late-stage projects toward commercialization.

The company, spun out of CRO giant Quintiles ($Q), has made its name striking end zone deals with drug developers of all sizes, looking for early returns with bets on compounds near commercialization. This year alone, NovaQuest has invested up to $40 million in 100-employee outfit Pharmaxis and its cystic fibrosis drug, meanwhile committing $150 million to help pharma heavyweight Hospira ($HSP) develop biosimilars in exchange for royalties.

It's an "unusual, alternative offering," Managing Partner Ron Wooten said, but one that has continued to attract high-quality limited partners, and NovaQuest's latest close pushes its managed cash north of $1 billion.

"The global biopharmaceutical industry faces many challenges as it seeks to bring new and beneficial medicines and therapies to patients," Wooten said in a statement. "We believe these challenges and the demand to improve healthcare globally should provide many opportunities for NovaQuest to make investments that both help patients and give our limited partners the chance to earn attractive returns on their investments."

With another $459 million to disburse, NovaQuest and its penchant for structured deals and creative financing could be a ray of hope for some drug developers left out in the cold by a slumping venture capital market. This year, as life sciences VC money continues its swoon, many biotechs have looked to outlets like angel investors, venture philanthropists and non-traditional equity deals.

NovaQuest's portfolio companies include 2006 Fierce 15 winner Ambit ($AMBI), next-gen Botox developer Revance Therapeutics and Eli Lilly ($LLY) spinoff BioCritica.

- read the announcement