Venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) says investments in biopharma and other healthcare startups will be included in its just-closed 14th fund totaling $2.6 billion.

NEA’s plans add to the encouraging news seen in recent days by the struggling biotech VC market, where the amount of capital invested sunk during Q2 to only about half the level of a year earlier. Since the release of VC biotech deal data by the quarterly MoneyTree Report, three startups made public investments totaling $175 million.

The new fund is one of the largest venture funds ever raised, and is expected to keep NEA active in funding biopharma startups at a time when VC investment has consolidated into a few giant venture firms.

NEA has 89 biopharma companies within its active portfolio of more than 265 healthcare, IT, and energy technology businesses. Biopharmas include Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Targacept, and Amicus Therapeutics. The firm’s general partners include former MedImmune CEO David Mott and James Barrett, Ph.D., whose long biopharma resume includes two years as president and CEO of Life Technologies.

NEA also said it plans to expand the scope of its global investments in biopharma and other industries.

“The venture capital ecosystem needs both large and small firms to thrive. But companies are scaling earlier and faster than ever before in a highly competitive global landscape, and they need partners with a global footprint and deep pockets to succeed,” Peter Barris, NEA managing general partner, said in a statement. “Our industry has been profoundly transformed in recent years, and a new model has quietly gained traction where more dollars are being committed to large funds that are global and diversified in nature.”

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