Leading the Way in Life Science Technologies

GEN Exclusives

More »

The Lists

More »
October 06, 2014

25 Young Companies in the Money

These firms have gained the notice of those in high places.

25 Young Companies in the Money

Google, J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., and other big names funded many of the firms on this year’s list. [© Gajus – Fotolia.com]

  • 2014 to date has been the best year since the 2007–09 recession for young biopharmas dreaming of securing big money as the financial markets have finally warmed to drug or diagnostic developers, whether they raised private money as on this list, went public or, as happened in several instances, they raised private financing and then went public.

    That encouraging trend is reflected in many of the big numbers and big names that dot this year’s list. The number-one company this time around received $200 million, compared with $150 million for the top-ranked company on last year’s GEN List of Young Companies in the Money: 25 Firms to Watch.

    And talk about big-name investors: This year’s 25 Young Companies in the Money include biopharmas that received funding from Google, J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the founder of Watson Pharmaceuticals, and two managing partners in the Boston Celtics.

    Again as with last year, this GEN List does not include companies that secured private funding and later went public, or filed registration statements to do so. By our count, no fewer than seven companies that received private funding and otherwise would have appeared here went public (Auspex, Avalanche Biotechnologies, Civitas Therapeutics, Kite Pharma, Otonomy, Proteon Therapeutics, and Versartis), while an additional two companies have IPOs pending but have not yet traded their first public shares (Coherus Biosciences, Kolltan Pharmaceuticals).

    Below is a list of 25 privately held biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, ranked by the amount of nonpublic financing they have raised so far in 2014. Each company is listed by total raised (with a breakdown of the amount for companies reporting two events this year), the type of financing, the date announced, the purpose of the financing as stated by companies, the financing leader, other firms involved in the financing with their status as new or existing investors noted where available, and footnotes offering details of the events.

  • #25. Anokion

    Amount: $34.5 million (CHF 33 million)

    Type: Series A financing

    Date announced: May 5

    Purpose: Develop clinical candidates in the areas of immune-masked protein therapeutics, autoimmune, and allergic diseases. First clinical trials are planned for 2017.

    Financing leaders: Novartis Venture Fund, Novo Ventures, and Versant Ventures

    Additional financing partners: “Additional participation by private investors.”

  • #24. JHL Biotech

    Amount: $35 million

    Type: Series B financing

    Date announced: June 19

    Purposes: Develop biosimilar monoclonal antibody pipeline, accelerate filing of investigational new drug applications, support ongoing facility expansion in Taiwan, acquire additional equipment for commercial manufacturing facility in Wuhan, China, which is expected to be completed by year’s end.

    Financing leaders: Milestone Capital and a consortium of Taiwan venture capitalists and individuals, including President International Development Corp., Fubon Financial Holdings, Taishin Financial Holdings, TaiAn Technologies, Hotung Group, and Allen Chao, Ph.D., founder of Watson Pharmaceuticals and its CEO from 1994–2008 (the company is now Actavis).

    Additional financing partners: Existing Series A shareholders China Development Industrial Bank, Biomark Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

  • #23. Flex Pharma

    Amount: $40 million

    Type: Private funding from syndicate of “blue chip public and private investors,” including “top-tier venture capital and leading crossover funds”

    Date announced: September 8

    Purpose: Further advance the science and its clinical candidates addressing neuromuscular disorders.

    Financing leader: No leader denoted

    Financial partners: Longwood Fund; Bessemer Venture Partners; EcoR1 Capital; Jennison Associates (on behalf of clients); Lightstone Ventures; Alexandria Equities; CD-Venture GmbH; Bindley Capital Partners; City Hill Ventures; Richard Mark Beleson, retired SVP, Capital Research Company; Todd Dagres, Spark Capital general partner; Richard Gibbs, Gibbs Capital Management; Daniel Gold, managing partner, founder, and CEO, QVT Financial; Wyc Grousbeck, Boston Celtics managing partner and CEO; Robert Steven Kaplan, Ph.D., Harvard Business School; The Kraft Group; Peter S. Lynch, trustee, The Lynch Foundation; John Maraganore, Ph.D., Alnylam CEO; Judy Pagliuca, managing partner, Pags Growth Capital; Steve Pagliuca, Bain Capital managing director, Boston Celtics managing partner; William Sahlman, Ph.D., Harvard Business School; Diane and John Sculley, former Apple CEO & Sculley Family Office; Jonathan Seelig, co-founder, Akamai Technologies.

  • #22. Alios BioPharma1

    Amount: $41 million

    Type: Series B financing

    Date announced: April 7

    Purpose: Primarily support continued clinical development of Alios' respiratory portfolio, including AL-8176, an anti-RSV nucleoside analog now in Phase II clinical development, and multiple late-stage preclinical development programs targeting influenza and rhinovirus.

    Financing leader: Undisclosed new investor

    Additional financial partners: Existing investors Novo Ventures, SR One (the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline), Roche Venture Fund, and Novartis Ventures.

  • #20 (tie). PanOptica

    Amount: $45 million

    Type: Series B financing

    Date announced: April 15

    Purpose: Fund clinical program for lead compound, PAN-90806, a small molecule selective inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor-signaling being investigated as a topical (eye drop) treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

    Financing leaders: New investor Novo Ventures and existing investor Third Rock Ventures

    Additional financing partners: Founding investor SV Life Sciences.

  • #20 (tie). Lumena Pharmaceuticals

    Amount: $45 million

    Type: Series B financing

    Date announced: March 11

    Purpose: Advance clinical development of lead product candidate LUM001 for rare cholestatic liver disease in pediatric and adult patients, as well as planned Phase II clinical trial of LUM002 for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

    Financing leader: New Enterprise Associates (NEA)

    Additional financial partners: New investors Adage Capital Management and RA Capital Management; Existing stakeholders Pappas Ventures, RiverVest Venture Partners, and Alta Partners.

  • #19. Integrated Diagnostics (Indi)

    Amount: $47.25 million

    Type: $30.25 million in Series B financing; $17 million nondilutive debt financing

    Date announced: April 29

    Purpose: Further commercialize Xpresys™ Lung, a molecular diagnostic blood test launched last year to help doctors manage indeterminate lung nodules; develop additional proteomic blood tests using Indi’s technology platform.

    Financing leaders: Series B financing led by Baird Capital; debt financing provided by Life Sciences Alternative Funding

    Additional financing partners: Series B financing joined by new investor Alexandria Venture Investments, the strategic venture arm of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, and by existing investors InterWest Partners and the Wellcome Trust.

  • #18. Thesan Pharmaceuticals

    Amount: $49 million

    Type: Series B financing

    Date announced: February 24

    Purpose: Support development of novel approaches for the treatment of dermatological disorders, including acne and atopic dermatitis.

    Financing leader: Novo Ventures, an existing investor

    Additional financial partners: SV Life Sciences, Lundbeckfond Ventures.

  • #17. Principia Biopharma

    Amount: $50 million

    Type: Series B financing

    Date announced: April 22

    Purpose: Further advance the company's pipeline, including an oral BTK inhibitor for potential use in autoimmune disease and oncology, an oral, selective, irreversible FGFR inhibitor program for the treatment of solid tumors, an oral IL-17 pathway inhibitor program with utility across a range of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases; as well as helping Principia expand into a clinical stage company.

    Financing leader: Sofinnova Ventures

    Additional financing partners: All of Principia's existing institutional investors: Morgenthaler Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners, OrbiMed, SR One, Mission Bay Capital, and additional undisclosed investors.

  • #16. Advanced Accelerator Applications

    Amount: $51.7 million (€41 million)

    Type: Unspecified capital increase

    Date announced: February 17

    Purpose: Help fund expansion plans and finance clinical trials of its portfolio of MNM diagnostic and therapeutic products.

    Financing leader: HBM Healthcare Investments, which invested $25.2 million (€20 million)

    Additional financial partners: Existing and new shareholders, including undisclosed private investors and funds that include a company of the Tamburi Investment Partners Group.

Related content