Almost $5.1 billion was invested in Washington state biotechnology, medical technology, and digital health companies last year across all phases of development, according to an inaugural investor report released today by an association representing Washington’s life science industry.
The funding came from more than 180 investors worldwide, including life science companies through mergers and acquisitions, and through venture capital funds, according to the report published by Life Science Washington. The investment report was compiled utilizing data from PitchBook, S&P Global Market Intelligence, and other publicly disclosed information, the report said, adding that many investments by Washington’s active seed and angel investors are not captured in the report due to limitations in publicly available data for early-stage investments.
Last year’s investment total was the second highest in the last nine years, second only to 2018, when Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics was acquired for $8.6 billion, according to the report.
“It’s not easy to build a life science company and this report shows investors worldwide recognize the incredible innovation being developed by Washington companies — from emerging to established players and across all sectors of life sciences,” Marc Cummings, president and CEO of Life Science Washington, said in a news release on the report. “These investors are placing bets on companies in an established hub with a deep history of global health innovation and a pioneering spirit that continues to create cutting-edge companies. This report also shows that investment is on a steady growth path, with our biotech companies leading the way.”
The total 2021 investments included early and later stage VC, angel funding, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, reverse mergers, and “other,” the report said. There were 112 deals last year in the state, with seven M&A deals accounting for almost $1.8 billion of the total annual investment.
The most deals, 49, involved later stage VC, and totaled $849 million. There were 98 investors in the biotech sector, 23 in medical tech, and 57 in digital health.
The top 10 deals by investment size last year, not including IPOs, according to the report, were:
-Rodeo Therapeutics Corp., of Seattle, with total funding of $720 million, a merger and acquisition deal with Amgen.
-Resolution Bioscience Inc., of Kirkland, with total funding of $695 million, an M&A deal with Agilent Technologies.
-Bardy Diagnostics Inc., of Bellevue, with total funding of $375 million, an M&A deal with Hillrom Holdings.
-Umoja Biopharma Inc., of Seattle, total funding of $210 million, later stage VC, with lead investors of Cormorant Asset Management; SoftBank Investment Advisers (UK) Ltd.; and SoftBank Vision Fund.
-Nautilus Biotechnology, of Seattle, total funding of $200 million, later stage VC, with lead investors Perceptive Advisors LLC.
-Absci Corp., of Vancouver, Washington, total funding of $125 million, debt financing, with lead investors Casdin Capital LLC and Redmile Group LLC.
-Shape Therapeutics Inc., of Seattle, total funding of $112 million, later stage VC, with lead investors Breton Capital Ventures; and Decheng Capital LLC.
-Variant Bio, of Seattle, total funding $105 million, later stage VC, with lead investors SoftBank Investment Advisers (UK) Ltd.; and SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
-Tasso Inc., of Seattle, total funding $100 million, later stage VC, with lead investor RA Capital Management LP.
-Icosavax Inc., of Seattle, $99.73 million, later stage VC, with lead investor RA Capital Management LP.
Life Science Washington Institute, an affiliate of Life Science Washington, is helping to grow the next generation of life sciences companies in Washington through mentorship, connections and workshops, the release said. The U.S. Small Business Association awarded $125,000 to the institute to advance its work with Washington researchers and entrepreneurs to help them enhance their proposals and increase the number of Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program awards received, particularly for applicants from underserved communities, and to support research that can translate into commercial products, the released added.