OrbiMed Advisors banks $325M for a new round of Asian biotech bets

Venture capital stalwart OrbiMed Advisors has closed a $325 million fund, raising new cash earmarked for biotech investments in Asia.

The fund, closed over the summer and reported by Venturewire on Tuesday, came in about $25 million above OrbiMed's initial target, and it's nearly twice as large as the firm's first Asia-focused foray, a $188 million purse launched in 2008. With the money, OrbiMed plans to string together about 10 deals with companies in India, China and around the continent, extending its focus on drug developers, diagnostics outfits and device makers.

With its last Asian fund, OrbiMed invested in Indian contract drugmaker Shasun Pharmaceuticals, drug developer Bharat Serums and Vaccines, and CRO Ecron Acunova, among others. The new venture is likely to skew toward India, as well, the firm has said, but OrbiMed is also keeping its eye on the nascent biotech space in China, among other markets.

Late last year, OrbiMed unveiled its latest general fund, a $735 million haul the group expects will support about 30 portfolio companies across biopharma and med tech, fueling individual bets between $10 million and $50 million. The fund, OrbiMed's 5th, well outpaced the $550 million it raised in 2010, and General Partner Jonathan Silverstein said he believes biotech VC is headed for a rebound amid strong returns and increasing valuations.

And he's not alone. Over the past few months, Arch Venture Partners, Venrock, Sofinnova Ventures and Versant Ventures have all debuted new biotech funds. The flurry of activity comes on the heels of a year in which mainstays like Abingworth, Frazier Healthcare and Third Rock have all pulled off successful new raises.

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