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Health firms still attracting venture capital

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The uncertainty of health care reform and a bad economy curtailed venture capital flow in 2009. That trend hit Indianapolis, but the rest of the state actually saw an increase.

In 14 deals, Hoosier companies pulled in a total of $76.3 million last year, a 1-percent increase over total investments in 2008, according to data released last week by BioEnterprise, a Cleveland-based life sciences development group.

The year before, only seven health care companies in Indiana scored venture capital, but they averaged larger amounts of capital: $10.8 million per deal. In 2009, average investments fell by half to $5.45 million per deal.

Around the Midwest, venture investing in health care companies fell 26 percent to $780 million, according to BioEnterprise. The declines were similar nationally, according to an annual study by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"This was a difficult year for emerging health care ventures in the Midwest and nationally," said Baiju R. Shah, CEO of BioEnterprise. "The global recession combined with the industry uncertainties related to U.S. health care reform dampened investment."

Indianapolis, however, suffered even more. Companies in the metro area attracted $41.2 million last year—44 percent less than the year before. The number of deals rose from six to nine.

Two of those deals went to one company, Nico Corp., a medical device maker that secured a total of $11.8 million in a second round and series B round of financing.

Picking up Indianapolis’ slack was Endocyte, the West Lafayette-based cancer drug developer. It raised $26 million in a series C round.

Two other West Lafayette companies—Matrix-Bio and Kylin Therapeutics—pulled in small amounts of venture capital.

Also, Evansville-based Achieve CCA, a medical debt management company, raised $5 million in its first round of financing.

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