OrbiMed lays plans for $300M biotech VC fund in Asia

OrbiMed Advisors, an active biotech investor, is apparently scaling down plans for a new pan-Asian fund. OrbiMed Asia filed documents with the SEC for a proposed $300 million fund, well under the $500 million its partners were discussing back at the beginning of the year.

OrbiMed's founder and Managing Partner Samuel Isaly told Reuters in February that the investment group wanted to more than double the first $188 fund that OrbiMed Asia raised in 2008. The lion's share of the new money was being designated for India, with China getting a big slice of the action as well. OrbiMed historically has focused on biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and healthcare services. And last year it ranked as the third busiest venture group in the U.S., with 21 deals consuming $136 million.

OrbiMed Asia Senior Managing Partner Jonathan Wang told ChinaBio earlier this year that the biotech investment scene in the booming Asian country is still in its honeymoon phase.

"Venture capital, like the Chinese biotech industry, is pretty young," Wang pointed out. "It started to emerge only about 15 years ago. The number of investors in the industry--both local and foreign--has grown dramatically over the recent 5 years. The amount of money managed through VC funds has increased rapidly as well." Therefore, Wang said, "the majority of the VC firms haven't gone through a complete cycle of investment and return for a fund yet. Chinese investors haven't lost a lot of money in biotech, so they're in a good mood."

He added that the OrbiMed Asia group stays focused on the big Chinese diseases, like gastric cancer, relying on a less expensive R&D industry to accelerate drug development work.

China, though, as well as India, has seen clouds form over drug development work in 2013. Indian officials have adopted new rules that have all but shut down drug studies in the subcontinent while allegations of data tampering have clouded the scene in China.

- here's the SEC filing

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