Washington Venture Investing Gravitates to Biotech—The Regional Top 10 List

7/21/09Follow @xconomy

It stands to reason in a downturn, when investors get more cautious, the last place they’d want to park money is in a sector where it takes huge sums, agonizing stretches of time, and slim odds of a profit. That’s biotech in a nutshell, yet even in the downturn, it’s where some of the biggest venture capital bets are being placed in Washington state.

The list of the top 10 deals in Washington we got from DowJones VentureSource shows that a select few biotech and medical device companies are leading the way in venture investment. There was a top tier, in which four biotech companies raised more than $20 million, and a second tier, in which cleantech, software, advanced materials (and one biotech startup) pulled in much smaller sums. As my Xconomy San Diego colleague Bruce Bigelow noted, VC investing in the life sciences rebounded strongly during the second quarter nationwide, with the MoneyTree Report counting $1.5 billion in 160 life science startups.

We saw evidence of the trend toward life sciences in all three of our network cities. San Diego biotechs landed the two biggest VC deals of the quarter and in New England, eight of the top 10 second quarter financings went to life sciences companies.

Here’s the rundown of the big local financings of the past quarter:

Washington state’s Top 10 Venture Deals—Q2 2009*

Pathway Medical Technologies (Kirkland, WA) — $42.5 million
(Investors: Forbion Capital Partners, Giza Venture Capital, HLM Venture Partners, Latterell Venture Partners, Oxford Bioscience Partners, WRF Capital).

NanoString Technologies (Seattle) — $30 million
(Investors: Clarus Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, OVP Venture Partners).

Calistoga Pharmaceuticals (Seattle) — $30 million
(Investors: Alta Partners, Amgen Ventures, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Three Arch Partners).

MediQuest Therapeutics (Bothell, WA) — $23 million
(Investors: Individual Investors, Integra Ventures, MASA Life Science Ventures, Novo).

Prometheus Energy (Redmond, WA) — $10 million
(Investors: Kenda Capital).

Gist (Seattle) — $6.75 million
(Investors: Foundry Group, Vulcan Capital).

DocuSign (Seattle) — $5 million
(Investors: Frazier Technology Ventures, Ignition Partners, Sigma Partners, WestRiver Capital).

Xori (Seattle) — $4.5 million
(Investors: Accelerator, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Amgen Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners, WRF Capital).

Qliance Medical Management (Seattle) — $4 million
(Investors: New Atlantic Ventures, Second Avenue Partners).

MicroGreen Polymers (Arlington, WA) — $3.4 million
(Investors: Not listed by Dow Jones, although Xconomy reported the round was led by WRF Capital).

—*Source: Dow Jones VentureSource

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