Life sciences VC funds thaw a bit-WEB ONLY

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Venture capital is flowing a bit more to Indiana and Midwest life sciences companies, according to data released this week. But it’s still nowhere near the record levels of two years ago.

Four Indiana firms attracted nearly $9 million in the first three months of 2009, up from just one firm that attracted $6.25 million in the same quarter last year.

The data comes from BioEnterprise, a Cleveland-based life sciences development group. Around the Midwest, the amount of money invested in life sciences companies rose 14 percent, to nearly $156 million.

But that money was split by far more companies than in the first quarter of 2008. The number of deals spiked to 47 this year, from 14 a year ago.

Two Indianapolis companies attracted investments. Medical device makers Nico Corp. and Symbios Medical Products raised $1.73 million and $190,000, respectively.

Elsewhere in Indiana, Evansville-based Achieve CCA raised $5 million from Louisville-based Chrysalis Ventures in February – its first round of funding. Achieve offers debt collection and credit counseling to health care providers’ patients.

West Lafayette-based Kylin Therapeutics attracted $2 million in March in its second funding round. Kylin uses RNA particles to create treatments for cancer and other diseases.

Nationwide, health care investments dropped 34 percent in the first quarter compared with a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data released last week.

“The Midwest numbers are surprising, especially given the national venture-capital situation,” BioEnterprise CEO Baiju R. Shah said in a statement. BioEnterprise tracks life sciences investing in 10 Midwest states and western Pennsylvania.

Venture funding in that region peaked in the first quarter of 2007 at $324 million. Indiana companies also attracted the most money then, pulling in more than $94 million.

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