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Biotech's Big Year: Sector Made Up Half of VC-Backed IPOs in 2013

There's a growing investor appetite for life sciences stocks.

Shutterstock / Koya979

The biotech industry made up more than half of all venture-backed initial public offerings last year, signaling a growing investor appetite for life sciences stocks.

In fact, with 42 out of the 82 deals last year, the sector racked up five times more IPOs in 2013 than it did in the last five years combined, according to the “Exit Poll” report released Thursday by the National Venture Capital Association and Thomson Reuters.

In the fourth quarter alone, 11 biotech or medical companies went public, raising a total of $907.6 million. Those deals included Oxford Immunotec (raising nearly $74 million), Karyopharm Therapeutics ($125 million), MacroGenics ($92 million), TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals ($50 million), Veracyte ($65 million) and Xencor ($81 million), according to additional data from the NVCA and Thomson Reuters.

Across all sectors, 24 venture-backed IPOs raised $5.3 billion in the fourth quarter, the report said. While a slight decline in deals from the prior quarter, the total dollar figure grew by 91 percent sequentially.

For the full year, 82 venture-backed companies went public in the United States, the highest total since 2007.

Another 52 venture-back companies are waiting in the IPO wings, with paperwork on file at the Securities and Exchange Commission. That doesn’t count the unknown number of additional firms that have submitted confidential filings under the JOBS Act.

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