Top biotech investor NEA outlines plans for another $2.5B-plus venture fund

David Mott--Courtesy of NEA

In a sign of the times, leading life sciences venture maven David Mott and his colleagues at New Enterprise Associates have begun raising a whopping $2.5 billion venture fund--less than three years after rolling out its latest fund with $2.6 billion.

This will be NEA's 15th fund, which the VC formally opened to investors with a filing at the SEC.

To be sure, not all of that cash will be wagered on the life sciences. NEA has a voracious appetite for all kinds of technologies. But if past performance is any guide to the future, the venture group will reserve about a third of that for healthcare, with life sciences playing a big role in that sector. And most likely it will look to top the $2.5 billion a bit, to demonstrate added confidence among its backers.

It's a great time to raise new venture money. NEA filed Fund XV as the industry gathered in San Francisco at JP Morgan's annual confab to celebrate the start of the third year of a long-running IPO streak. A long lineup of biotech VCs--survivors of the 2008 crisis--has been reaping billions of dollars for new investments after seeing a string of exits that has filled most sails and inspired a wave of startups focused on new technologies like CAR-T, CRISPR-Cas9 and more.

Mott and colleagues like Elliott Sigal, the high-profile former R&D chief at Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), have been beating the biotech bushes around the world for new investments in the field. And its presence in a venture round is known in the industry for often driving up the total raised as syndicate partners take into account the kind of sums NEA likes to invest in up-and-coming biotechs.

That strategy was on full display last fall, when the U.K.'s Adaptimmune raised $104 million for its TCR work in immuno-oncology and wound up with three NEA partners on the board, including Mott and Sigal.

"We're very active across all stages of development, all geographies, all disciplines," Mott told FierceBiotech back in 2013, as he matter-of-factly assessed NEA's lead role in biotech investing.

- here's the SEC filing

Special Report: The Top 15 Biotech VC firms - New Enterprise Associates

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