Biotech Wrap: Five New Companies Bring Disbursements Close to $1B –

p>Venture capital investments in the biotechnology sector are lurching ever closer to the $1 billion mark for the year. To date, VCs have invested $951.7 million in 87 portfolio companies according to our VentureXpert database.

Venture Economics analysts recorded $70.9 million invested in seven biotech companies in June. So far in July, they have catalogued $30 million invested in three companies.

VCs continue to be most interested in human biotechnology plays, with 45 such firms receiving $602.3 million. Companies involved in general research and biotech equipment niche sectors also earned the interest of VCs.

Biotech companies in Northern California have edged those in Southern California out of the top position in the quest for venture funding. To date, 13 companies located in Northern California for garnered $259.8 million ñ topping the $231.6 million attracted by 18 of their SoCal neighbors.

Notable Deals

St. Paul Venture Capital Inc., Skyline Ventures, ProQuest Ventures and Abingworth Management Ltd. invested $16.8 million on June 21 in Guava Technologies. The Burlingame, Calif.-based company develops analytical tools for cellular analysis for the biopharmaceutical industry.

Admetric Biochem Inc. earned a $200,000 investment from long-time supporter S. R. One Ltd. Partners on June 28. Based in Medford, Mass., Admetric provides compound screening services. The four-year-old company has been supported by S. R. One Ltd. and Oxford Bioscience Partners through several rounds.

IngleWood Ventures and RCT BioVentures NE invested $5 million in San Diego-based MetaProbe LLC on July 5. MetaProbe develops diagnostic technologies which work with current imaging platforms, such as MRI, to visualize physiological events associated with specific diseases.

On July 17, VCs invested $15 million in EluSys Therapeutics with a post-money valuation of $47 million. Crescendo Venture Management LLC, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures and Invesco Private Capital participated in the expansion round for the Pine Brook, N.J. company. EluSys concentrates on the treatment of blood-borne infections and auto-immune diseases.

Also on July 17, Healthcare Ventures and MPM Capital invested $10 million in Critical Therapeutics, a company developing therapeutic products for critical care. This investment marked the second round for the Cambridge, Mass. company.

About half of the investors in these rounds were new to the deal, and biotech remains an area of steady attraction for VCs.

Contact Charles Fellers at: