OrbiMed launches new, nearly $1 billion biomed venture fund
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OrbiMed's nearly $1 billion-strong fund will focus on genetic testing and oncology (screenshot)

The fund will be the VC’s sixth and largest with over 30 new companies entering its portfolio

OrbiMed, a global biomedical venture capital firm headquartered in New York, announced on Monday it had raised $950 million from limited partners for its sixth fund.

They tout several prominent institutions as investors as well as sovereign wealth funds and major endowments.

The new fund tops the previous one’s tally of $735 million and will offer big sums between $10 million and $75 million. Previous funds include $300 million launched in 2003, $530 million in 2007 and $550 million in 2010, according to Bison. Bison lists previous investors as CalSTRS, Oregon PERF, San Francisco City & County ERS, and Texas County & District RS.

While a press release says the focus will be on North American and European companies, the firm has offices in China, India, and a medtech hub in Israel. The same statement indicated that they seem to plan to hit every major vertical in the industry: biopharmaceuticals, healthtech, medical devices, and diagnostics solutions.

T-bills and T-cells

Jonathan Silverstein, an OrbiMed partner and co-head of global private equity, said they hoped to amplify collaboration with “strategic companies” and research institutions, while a statement by OrbiMed partner Carl Gordon hinted where they were hoping to plant their cash.

“The increasing pace of translation of science to medicine creates exciting opportunities for the Fund in areas such as oncology, central nervous system disease, and gene editing.”

OrbiMed is hardly alone in looking to cash in on oncology breakthroughs. Other big funds opened this year with a focus on oncology, such as Deerfield Innovation ($550 million), Omega’s fifth fund ($200 million) and Arboretum Ventures’ fourth fund ($220 million). Google Ventures, NexTech Invest, 21st Century Oncology Holdings (obviously) and the Aglaia Oncology Fund are just a few others making moves there. One report counts 100 major investments in cancer diagnostics companies since mid-2013 in public and private markets, including $80 million from July-August 2015 alone. Immuno-oncology, which covers advanced genetic testing to diagnose predisposition to cancer later in life, garnered nearly $11 billion in deals in 2015 according to researcher Nicholas Longworth.

OrbiMed’s current portfolio is already well invested here: cCAM Biotherapeutics (acquired by Merck), Adaptimmune, Aduro Biotech, Amoy Diagnostics (China), Chemclin, Corvus, Crown Bioscience and Igenica. Recent portfolio series include ObsEva getting $60 million in series B, ORIC’s $53 million in series B, Avedro’s $32 million in new funding and TigerText at $50 million in new financing.

The global fund maintains locations in San Francisco, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Herzliya, Israel. OrbiMed maintains several teams for public equity, private equity, venture capital and royalties.

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