"When AstraZeneca bought MedImmune last year, CEO David Mott went looking for a new job. He landed at New Enterprise Associates, one of the world's largest venture capital firms with $11 billion under management. The firm invests about 40 percent of its money in healthcare, 40 percent in technology and 20 percent in clean tech/energy.
NEA's size allows it to look all over the world for the most promising new technology. ""We tend to look almost anywhere because of our scale,"" explains Mott. Biopharma investing is the largest part of the firm's healthcare division, and the group is open to investing in any stage of research. Says Mott, ""We're looking for anything from start-ups to later-stage opportunities.""
But NEA is selective when it comes to what therapeutics or platforms it funds. ""We're pretty diversified, but given what's happening to our healthcare system, we look for truly novel, not just incremental gains,"" explains Mott. ""Personally I'm looking for great science, smart management teams, a strong group of co-investors, a program that solves a large, unmet medical need.""
If you want to see a NEA portfolio company in action, take a look at the $2.9 sale of Pharmion to Celgene. The management team behind Pharmion went on to found Clovis Oncology with a stunning $145 million in VC support. ""When you do a $2.9 billion buyout, your venture backers tend to want to give you more money,"" Mott observes.
NEA didn't hesitate to generously fund Clovis; Mott says that the economic changes that have hit the biotech sector so hard haven't hurt his firm. ""We're seeing an ever-increasing deal flow, but being pretty selective. There's been downward pressure in pricing and terms. We focused on making sure the companies we invest in have an exit at some point."" He adds, ""You hear a lot about people slowing investing pace, but it's business as usual at NEA