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Life sciences deals pick up momentum

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Venture dollars for Indiana life sciences companies are still few, but the flow of deals is picking up.

Nine Hoosier companies scored investments totaling $10.4 million during the first six months of the year, according to IBJ research and data from Cleveland-based BioEnterprise, a life sciences business development group.

During the same period a year ago, just four companies secured venture capital, for a total of $8.9 million.

Indiana’s total dollars ranked it a lowly ninth out of 11 Midwest states tracked by BioEnterprise. But its number of deals ranked only behind Ohio.

The trend of smaller deals has been consistent across the Midwest for the past 18 months. For example, five Indiana companies attracted investments of $750,000 or less. The smallest deal was Warsaw-based OrthoPediatrics’ attraction of $50,000.

“The number of companies attracting financing remains higher. This is primarily due to increasing seed and angel-stage activity across the Midwest,” Baiju R. Shah, CEO of BioEnterprise, said in a statement.

Through the end of June, total venture capital invested in Midwest life sciences companies was $412 million, up 2 percent from the same period a year ago but down 44 percent from three years earlier.

Indiana’s venture haul is down more than 80 percent from the same period three years earlier.

There were 75 Midwest deals during the first half of the year, down slightly from 81 a year ago but still higher than in 2007.

Indiana had twice as many deals this year as it did at this time in 2007. The companies scoring investments include Indianapolis-based Fast Diagnostics, with $2.75 million; Indianapolis-based FlowCo, with $2 million; and Indianapolis-based PolicyStat, with $1.15 million.

Outside of Indianapolis, West Lafayette-based QuadraSpec pulled in $2.33 million. The company has since changed its name to Perfinity Biosciences Inc.

BioEnterprise credited Indiana with $9.2 million raised by CoLucid Pharmaceuticals. The drug-discovery firm started in Indianapolis, studying a drug bought from Eli Lilly and Co. But it now makes its headquarters in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. Therefore, IBJ excluded those dollars from its calculations.

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