Alex Philippidis Senior News Editor Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

Which companies raised the most funds last year?

As we talked about in our list of the top 20 venture capital firms, VC firms can help provide funds for companies they think have high potential in exchange for equity in the companies in which they’re investing. Last year, a lot of companies made equity investments for funds—which ones were biggest?

Below is a list of the top 10 equity investment deals in biopharma for all of 2012, as recorded by MoneyTree Report, produced by PwC and National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters, and released earlier this month. Listings include a description of the equity involved, participating investment firms, and purpose stated by the company for its raising of funds. Footnotes include names of participating firms and financing details not listed by MoneyTree Report.

#10. Celladon

Equity invested: $52.19 million1

Type of equity: Undisclosed

Participating firms: Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, GBS Venture Partners, H & Q Healthcare Investors, Hambrecht & Quist Capital Management, Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., Life Sciences Partners, Lundbeckfond Ventures, MPM Capital, Novartis Venture Funds, Pfizer Venture Investments, Venrock Associates, and an undisclosed investor

Purpose: Advance lead investigational product candidate Mydicar® for heart failure.

#9. SFJ Pharmaceuticals

Equity invested: $56.5 million2

Type of equity: Venture equity; rounds undisclosed

Participating firms: Clarus Ventures, and an undisclosed investor

Purpose: Deploy new business model for clinical development and registration of pharmaceutical products for Japan and other Asian markets.


Equity invested: $58.3 million3

Type of equity: Series B preferred stock

Participating firms: InterWest Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, Pappas Ventures, T. Rowe Price Threshold Partnerships, and an undisclosed investor

Purpose: Funding its operating plan through at least January 1, 2013, together with the Company’s existing cash and cash equivalents as of December 31, 2011, which were listed as $39.825 million in Tesaro’s Form S-1 registration statement for its initial public offering of common stock, filed March 23, 2012, with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

#7. bluebird bio (formerly Genetix Pharmaceuticals)

Equity invested: $60 million

Type of equity: Series D financing

Participating firms: ARCH Venture Partners, Forbion Capital Partners, RA Capital Management, Third Rock Ventures, TVM Capital, and two undisclosed investors4

Purpose: Advance clinical programs in severe genetic disorders including childhood cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy (CCALD), beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Using proceeds from this financing plus promising early clinical proof-of-concept results, bluebird bio plans to initiate a Phase II/III clinical study in CCALD in both the U.S. and Europe this year, as well as a second U.S.-based Phase I/II study in betathalassemia. The company also said it expects to launch a more extensive sickle cell disease development program and invest in manufacturing, clinical, and commercial infrastructure to support the upcoming clinical trials and precommercial launch activities.

#6. Relypsa

Equity invested: $65 million5

Type of equity: Series C preferred stock financing

Participating firms: 5AM Ventures, Delphi Ventures, Mediphase Venture Partners, New Leaf Venture Partners, OrbiMed Advisors, Sibling Capital, Sprout Group

Purpose: Fund late-stage development, submission of a new drug application, and commercial planning for patiromer (RLY5016), the company’s high capacity nonabsorbed oral potassium binder under development for hyperkalemia in patients with chronic kidney disease. Relypsa plans to initiate patient enrollment in a Phase III pivotal clinical trial of patiromer during the first quarter of this year, under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreement with FDA, announced January 2. Top-line results are expected to be reported in Q4 2013.

#5. Aragon Pharmaceuticals

Equity invested: $87.8 million6

Type of equity: Series C and Series D financings

Participating firms: Aisling Capital, The Column Group, OrbiMed Advisors, Topspin Partners, venBio Partners, and an undisclosed investor

Purpose: Both financings designed to advance the company’s pipeline of therapies targeting hormone-driven cancers, including ARN-509 for castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), for which Phase II results have been announced.

#4. Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals

Equity invested: $90.1 million7

Type of equity: Series B round included

Participating firms: BlackRock Private Equity Partners, Fidelity Biosciences, HealthCap Partners, Pappas Ventures, TPG Growth, and an undisclosed investor

Purpose: Advance development of lead clinical-stage programs—UX001, a substrate replacement therapy for hereditary inclusion body myopathy now in a Phase II clinical study, with results anticipated later this year; and UX003, a recombinant enzyme replacement therapy for mucopolysaccharidosis type 7, set to enter a Phase I/II clinical study this year—and other undisclosed programs.

#3. Intrexon

Equity invested: $100 million

Type of equity: Series E preferred round

Participating firms: Sandbox Industries, Third Security8

Purpose: Provide working capital for commercial divisions and expansion of UltraVector® tech platform, the underying architecture and construction methodology for the company’s complex transgenes. UltraVector is the backbone of Intrexon’s activities in human healthcare, animal science, agricultural biotech, and industrial products.

#2. Elevance Renewable Sciences

Equity invested: $104.36 million

Type of equity: Series E round

Participating firms: Total Energy Ventures International, and an undisclosed investor9

Purpose: Support strategic growth plans including continued development of biorefineries in Asia and North and South America.

#1. Intarcia Therapeutics

Equity invested: $155.9 million10

Type of equity: Preferred stock private placement, and private debt placement

Participating Firms: Alta Partners, Farallon Capital Management, New Enterprise Associates, New Leaf Venture Partners, Venrock, and two undisclosed investors

Purpose: Launch global Phase III program with partner Quintiles in Q1 2013 for lead product candidate ITCA 650 (continuous subcutaneous delivery of exenatide), which if approved would be the first and only once-yearly, injection-free GLP-1 therapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Source: The MoneyTree Report by PwC and NVCA based on data from Thomson Reuters

1 Includes $43 million equity financing announced February 15, 2012.
Includes $35 million venture equity financing closed during second quarter 2012, and $21 million venture equity financing closed during third quarter 2012. Rounds for both financings were undisclosed. Neither was announced by SFJ, but were both listed by VentureDeal; Clarus’ website lists SFJ as one of 32 portfolio companies.
Net proceeds from private placement sale of 26,884,442 shares of Series B preferred stock to existing investors at a price of $2.175 per share in March 2012.
Company announcement of July 25, 2012, listed Deerfield Partners and Ramius Capital Group as new investors, along with RA Capital.
Includes portion of $80 million Series C preferred stock financing announced August 15, 2012.
Includes $42 million oversubscribed Series C financing led by Topspin Fund, an investment group of James Simons, Leo A. Guthart and Steve Winick, announced March 6, 2012 (; and $50 million Series D financing, led by venBio, announced October 4, 2012 (
Includes $75 million series B round announced by the company December 20, 2012. That round was led by Adage Capital Partners, an unstated number of mutual funds and separate account clients advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Jennison Associates on behalf of undisclosed clients, funds and accounts under management by subsidiaries of BlackRock, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures, Shire and additional undisclosed “blue chip” public market funds.
Company announcement listed several undisclosed new investors and a third existing investor, Randal J. Kirk, Intrexon’s chairman and CEO, as participating in the financing.
Company announcement listed as lead investor Lacustrine Limited via Genting Genomics Ltd., wholly owned by Genting Berhad of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Part of $210 million in two financings announced November 15, 2012: $160 million in proceeds from a preferred stock private placement, and $50 million in proceeds from a private debt placement. The announcement also listed as investors The Baupost Group and three additional undisclosed “top-tier institutional investors based in Boston and New York.”

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