12:00 AM
Nov 25, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Venture not dead yet

Big rounds to close November push biotech venture total past $5B for 2013

A series of significant venture rounds last week pushed the money raised by private biotechs this year across the $5 billion mark, making it the 10th straight year in which the industry has crossed the threshold.

This year's money has already eclipsed the low water mark of the last decade, when only $5.1 billion was raised in 2010 (see "Making the Mark").

Two of the week's biggest private deals were from preclinical mRNA company Moderna Therapeutics Inc., which raised $110 million in an undisclosed round, and cancer play Ganymed Pharmaceuticals AG, which closed a €45 million ($60.8 million) series E round.

Each arguably could have gone the IPO route, but decided to continue as private entities thanks to strong backing from venture investors.

Others, such as cancer company Mission Therapeutics Ltd., may still be a few years from having the profile that attracts public investors. Mission's syndicate committed £20 million ($32.3 million) to carry the biotech to its first IND filing in late 2016.

Go big

Moderna is investing heavily in an mRNA platform designed to produce protein therapeutics faster and more cheaply than can be done with recombinant technologies (see BioCentury, Jan. 28).

"We are working on a brand new technology with a lot of potential across many therapeutic areas, so there is a lot of science we want to invest in to continue strengthening the platform," said President and CEO Stephane Bancel.

Flagship Ventures, which launched Moderna in 2010 and nurtured the company in its Flagship VentureLabs incubator, led last...

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