Indiana’s life sciences sector racks up annual record $257M in venture funding

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In a year otherwise marked by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic and a struggling economy, here’s a glimmer of good news: Indiana life sciences sector raked in a record $257 million this year—more than triple the amount from last year.

Thirty-nine companies signed deals for venture funding for an average deal amount of $6.6 million, according to figures provided by BioCrossroads, which tracks the funding. That is an improvement from last year, when 34 Indiana companies signed deals totaling $74 million, for an average deal amount of $2.1 million. (Last year was a low year for venture funding in the sector, with the lowest dollar amount since 2015.)

Venture capital is a critical source of funding for early-stage and mid-stage companies that are too young or too untested to go public or merge with a larger company. Companies often use the venture funds to pay for expensive clinical trials and to develop and test prototypes. Investors give the companies money in exchange for partial ownership in the growing companies.

This year’s deal sizes ranged from $10,000 to $60.9 million.

Seven companies accounted for the lion’s share of the funding, $226 million. The other 32 companies split the remaining $31 million. But some observers say that lopsided funding allocation is nothing to be alarmed about.

“You’re correct that a relatively small number of investments make up the majority of the investment dollars,” Brian Stemme, senior vice president at BioCrossroads, said in an email to IBJ. “This is due to those companies being further along in their clinical development, and therefore the dollars needed for clinical trials, early manufacturing, etc. are higher than companies earlier in the product development cycle.”

Another encouraging sign, he said: the 39 companies represent a wide range of therapeutics, devices and health information technology. That diversification is healthy for the sector and for Indiana’s economy. Indiana companies winning the funding stretched from South Bend to Bloomington.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 Indiana VC deals, by size of funding, along with the companies’ products and funders:

  • Ossium Health, Indianapolis: $60.9 million from General Catalyst to develop cell therapy products.
  • Inari, West Lafayette: $45 million from K2 to develop plant-breeding technology.
  • MBX Biosciences, Indianapolis: $34.6 million from Frazier Healthcare Partners, Orbimed and NEA to develop therapeutics for endocrine disorders.
  • INCOG Biopharma, Indianapolis: $28.8 million from undisclosed investors to develop biologics manufacturing.
  • Scioto Biosciences, Indianapolis: $26.5 million from Genome & Co. to develop new drugs targeting brain and bowel diseases.
  • Wishbone Medical, Warsaw: $20 million from LKCM Headwater Investments to develop orthopedic devices for children.
  • Innovative Health Solutions, Versailles: $10.5 million from undisclosed investors to develop pain-relief devices.
  • Animated Dynamics, West Lafayette: $5.5 million from undisclosed investors to develop an imaging platform to deliver three-dimensional drug assessments.
  • IV Diagnostics, Valparaiso: $5.4 million from undisclosed investors to develop diagnostic tools to detect tumors and blood-borne diseases.
  • Nanovis, Columbia City: $2 million from undisclosed investors to develop tissue-regenerating implants.

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