Biotech investment dips amid dearth of buyouts


The value of private equity, venture capital and development capital investments targeting the biotech sector in March dipped for the second month in a row, while volume held, according to data compiled by Zephyr and Bureau van Dijk. 

There were 11 transactions worth a combined $166m during the four weeks under review, which in monetary terms was a two per cent decline on $169m in February, but more than two-thirds higher than the $97m-worth of investments signed off a year ago.

Volume remained steady month-on-month and was up 57 per cent on the same time last year (March 2013: seven transactions).

The fact that volume was unchanged while value decreased from the preceding month suggests that individual deal valuations were slightly weaker in March.

All of the top transactions targeting biotech companies over the four weeks were funding rounds, with no buyouts featuring at all.

The largest deal by value in March was Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, a US firm that develops monoclonal antibody oncology and small-molecule pharmaceuticals, which raised $60m in its series D round.

This was followed by a $38m series C round for SAGE Therapeutics, a US life sciences company involved in research and development of treatments for central nervous system disorders. Venture capital firms including OrbiMed Advisors, EcoR1 Capital and existing backer Third Rock Ventures participated in the round.

Companies based in the US and France were the only targets of investment in March.

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