Ebb & Flow

The antipathy of the public markets for biotech hasn't hurt venture rounds, where investors have more savvy and take a long-term view. But while European venture capitalists have embraced the idea that building larger companies is the way to go, the average size of venture rounds is lagging behind 2000, and still trails the U.S.

Last quarter, 16 private European companies raised $216.6 million at an average of $13.5 million per company. In the same period last year, 17 companies raised $223.1 million at an average of $13.2 million. By comparison, the average European venture round in 2000 was for $16.5 million (and was $18.4 million in the U.S. (see "Average Private Rounds").

Nevertheless, some European rounds have been substantial this year, led by British vaccine company Microscience ($36.5 million), followed by Swiss proteomics and high throughput screening playCytos ($27 million).

Going forward, European VCs are taking their time to make decisions and are looking for more substantial companies than in the past. "We are looking for companies with sustainable models, and in these companies we will continue to see the trend of larger financing rounds," said Denise Pollard-Knight of Nomura Healthcare.

"We are still seeing deals taking a long time to close and we will continue to see companies struggling to find lead investors to price their deals," she said. "It's a trend I expect to continue."

In the U.S., 45 companies raised $676.6 million last quarter, averaging $15 million. Last week's U.S. deals followed the trend toward bigger deals, with ninecompanies raising $184.8 million. Those included a $55 million

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