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Medical Device Developers Attract Cash

Venture capital increases its funding of medical technology.


The Burrill Report

“Whether or not this trend will continue through the remainder of 2011 remains to be seen.”

Venture financing of U.S. life sciences firms bucked the trend in the third quarter of 2011 as medical device firms raised close to 47 percent of the total capital invested in private life sciences companies. September helped, with twice as much invested in medical device companies as in biotechnology firms. Of the total $631.4 million invested, $396.3 million, or 62.8 percent, went to medical device developers.

Even discounting the fact that Valeritas, a New Jersey-based firm, pulled in $150 million of that amount in a series C round, medical devices pulled in half of the venture capital invested in life sciences firms in September.

This is a change from the trend so far this year. Burrill & Company data shows that biotech firms, which encompass drug and diagnostic developers, tools and genomics companies, and industrial biotech, received $3.3 billion in the first nine months of 2011 from venture and private equity investors, while medical device firms pulled in $1.8 billion.

Whether or not this trend will continue through the remainder of 2011 remains to be seen. Venture financing of medical device and equipment suppliers peaked in the period from the first quarter of 2007 through the first quarter 2008 period bolstered by good returns from initial public offerings and acquisitions of device companies. Although IPOs have not been attractive in the current environment, several high profile acquisitions in the past year—American Medical Systems by Endo Pharmaceuticals, Kinetic Concepts by Apax Partners and Canadian pension funds—bode well for investor exits. An aging population is another plus for investing in medical device firms, as many of the sector’s products target this growing segment of the population.


October 14, 2011

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