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Life Science Venture Capital Financing and Fundraising Activity Remain Slow, Despite Surge in Biotech IPO Activity, According to First Half 2013 Fenwick & West Survey

Mountain View, CA (September 16, 2013) – Fenwick & West today announced the results of its First Half 2013 Life Science Venture Capital Survey. The survey analyzes the valuations and terms of venture financings for 149 life science companies headquartered in the United States that reported raising capital during the first half of 2013, as well as trends in venture capital financings, fundraising and exit events.

“For 2013, up rounds outpaced down rounds 46 percent to 21 percent, with 33 percent flat. This is a modest decline from 2012 results, which averaged 51 percent up rounds and 15 percent down rounds, with 34 percent flat,” said Matt Rossiter, a partner in the firm and co-author of the survey. An up round is one in which the price per share at which a company sells its stock has increased since its prior financing round. Conversely, a down round is one in which the price per share has declined since a company’s prior financing round.

The Fenwick & West Life Science Venture Capital Barometer™ – which measures the change in share price of life science companies funded during the year compared with the share price of their previous financing round – showed an average price increase of 25 percent in Q1 of 2013 and 15 percent during Q2, bringing the four-quarter moving average to 22 percent. For comparison, average Barometer results for 2012 were 23 percent.

Survey analysis also indicates that fundraising by life science venture capitalists continued to decline during 2013, with estimated fundraising for the first half of the year falling to $1.3 billion, corresponding to an annualized rate of $2.6 billion.

“Since 2009, life science venture capitalists have raised $3.0 billion per year or less, and 2013 is on track for similar results,” said Rossiter.  “With the lower level of VC fundraising over the past few years, it is not surprising that we are seeing fewer financing transactions. That trend is likely to continue until fundraising increases or we get closer to equilibrium between funds raised and funds deployed.”

“Venture-backed biotech IPO activity has been exceptionally strong during 2013, but fewer venture financings are occurring, valuation trends for private companies are flat, and fundraising by life science venture capitalists remains slow,” said Rossiter. “The uptick in IPO activity is a welcome development, and has opened up capital-raising and exit opportunities for selected venture-backed biotech companies. It remains to be seen, however, whether this will translate into broader increases in venture financing and fundraising activity across the life science sector.” 

About the Survey
The Fenwick & West Life Science Venture Capital Survey, co-authored by law firm partners Matt Rossiter, Barry Kramer and Michael Patrick, offers a unique view of the life science venture capital market by providing insight into the changes in venture capital valuations and terms. By focusing on these trends, the Fenwick & West Survey complements the data reported by other industry sources, such as Dow Jones VentureSource and the MoneyTree™ Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters.

About Fenwick & West
Fenwick & West provides comprehensive legal services to ground-breaking technology and life sciences companies at every stage of their lifecycle. We craft innovative, cost-effective and practical solutions for established and emerging companies on issues ranging from venture capital, public offerings, joint ventures, M&A and strategic relationships, to intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, taxation, antitrust, and employment and labor law. For more than four decades, Fenwick has helped some of the world's most recognized companies become and remain market leaders.

Matt Rossiter
Fenwick & West LLP
Phone: 415.875.2372