November has seen some disproportionately large venture rounds. Last week, JDS Pharmaceuticals surfaced and announced a $62 million series A round - the biggest of the year and the third largest A round in the annals of biotech financings. JDS's super-sized deal followed a $32 million A round on Nov. 11 from specialty dermatology company Neosil. And today, cancer and autoimmune company Synta was to announce an $80 million series D round - the largest of its kind this year.
While JDS and Synta both have large war chests, the companies are taking opposite tacks on how the money will be used. Synta will use the funds to develop its internal compounds, while JDS plans to in-license.
Synta, which has about $130 million in cash post-financing, has seven Phase II trials ongoing in Crohn's disease and various cancers and two Phase I trials in solid tumors and hematological malignancies. President and CEO Safi Bahcall told Ebb & Flow that the company expects "data from the majority of our Phase II programs in the second half of 2005."
Synta now has raised more than $200 million privately, including a $50 million C round and a $75.3 million B round.
Conversely, JDS COO Michael Satow said a large initial financing was necessary because "it's not easy in the current environment to find products at the right price."
JDS doesn't have a sweet spot for projected sales that it looks for when considering in-licensing deals. "We're not being picky and are looking at both small and large sales opportunities," said Satow.
The company already has a couple of compounds