Three very large investment deals in the first three months of 2014 led to Connecticut’s largest quarterly tally for venture capital deals in years, $189 million.
The total in the first quarter of 2014 was more than three times larger than any quarter of the previous two years, according to the MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association.
Two of the three recent investment rounds went to New Haven-based drug development firms. Melinta Therapeutics, now in Phase 3 trials for a drug to treat gonorrhea and other infections with a single pill, received $70 million in February from a group led by Vatera Healthcare Partners, its major current equity owner.
Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, a cancer-drug developer also in New Haven, received $60 million last month from a variety of investors. Kolltan, with technology developed at Yale, is in Phase 1 trials for a revolutionary therapy.
Odyssey Logistics & Technology Corp., a shipping management firm based in Danbury, received $48 million from a group led by Goldman Sachs.
Seven other deals for Connecticut firms totaled $12 million. Connecticut Innovations, the state’s quasi-public technology investment arm, participated or led in five of those.
The large quarter for tech investments does not necessarily mark a trend, as venture capital deals don’t follow a clear pattern from quarter to quarter. But the New York metro region, which includes Fairfield and New Haven counties, has had two straight quarters with deal levels not seen since 2001, the MoneyTree report showed.
And nationally, according to the report, which was compiled based on data from Thomson Reuters, the $9.5 billion invested in tech firms in the first quarter of 2014 was the highest since early 2001.
Many firms are moving into later stages of development and that explains the larger investments, said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of the National Venture Capital association. But he said, “overall capital remains constrained for most venture capital firms.”