The top drug recycling engine in the game, Roivant Sciences, has raised a massive $1.1 billion equity investment round led by Softbank Vision Fund, with support from existing shareholders. Announced Wednesday, the company said the new capital injection is designed to “accelerate the launch of new subsidiaries within and beyond the biopharmaceutical industry.” That means expanding the Vant empire, which includes Axovant, Myovant, Enzyvant, Dermavant, Urovant, and now Data-you guessed it-vant. The latter is branching out from the traditional biopharmaceutical approach to instead target healthcare through the lens of health IT.
While Axovant and Myovant are publicly-listed, Roivant has remained a private biopharma company. That means it may be the first to crack the $1 billion round in its field. In doing so, it has topped a series of mega raises this year — the high points of a multi-year trend towards unusually large private investment rounds.
Verily Life Sciences, a division of Alphabet Inc, received an $800 million investment from the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek in January. Several months later, Illumina spin-out Grail announced a $900 million Series B (which likely held the record for private life science raises until now). With Guardant Health’s $360 million round in May, the three companies had raised a combined $2 billion within the first six months of 2017.
Two new reports by Evaluate Ltd’s news and analysis arm, EP Vantage, highlight the wider trend.
Grail, Verily, and Guardant were incorporated into their 2017 Medtech stats, contributing to a full 64 percent of the total investment dollars in the field going to one of the top 10 raises, as the EP Vantage Medtech Half-Year Review 2017 report outlines.
In the EP Vantage Pharma & Biotech Half-Year Review 2017, the authors show the number of VC investments over $50 million nearly tripled between 2013 and 2014 (from 13 to 35). The numbers remained high (56, 47) for 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The number of rounds exceeding $100 million has also dramatically increased, from 4 in 2014 to 13 in 2015.
“One of the characteristics of venture investing in recent years has been the migration to big rounds and larger syndicates, and greater selectivity in support for seed and early-stage companies,” the authors note.
Despite the handful of mega raises this year, the overall trend appears to be leveling off in 2017. But never say never — billion-dollar raises can quickly skew data for any given year.TrendMD v2.4