27 local firms raise $154.3 million

Among local firms, Avid was the top attractor for investors this quarter.

Posted: August 08, 2007

A University City firm working on a way to diagnose Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases long before they present symptoms was the region's top magnet for venture capital during the second quarter.

The firm, Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc., raised $26 million, according to the quarterly MoneyTree Survey released yesterday by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

"They have a deep understanding of the neurology segment and also the ability to apply their technology to other diseases, including diabetes," said Mike Pellini, vice president of the life-sciences group at Safeguard Scientifics Inc., of Wayne, which invested $7.3 million in Avid during the second quarter.

CRI Worldwide, of Clementon in Camden County, a group of medical professionals that does research, clinical trials and data management for pharmaceutical companies and others, ranked second, with $15.7 million.

In the Philadelphia region, $154.3 million was invested in 27 firms, the report said. Nationally, $7.1 billion was invested in 977 deals, raising the possibility that 2007 would reach a six-year high.

In New Jersey, $213.7 million was invested in 30 deals; in Pennsylvania, $197.9 million in 30 deals. The two states lagged far behind the national leaders - California at $3.5 billion, Massachusetts at $785.3 million, and Texas at $347.4 million.

Avid Radiopharmaceuticals is the outgrowth of 10 years of research at the University of Pennsylvania, and the company continues to work with Penn scientists to develop radioactive compounds that bind to amyloid plaque in the brain.

This allows the plaque, which could be an early sign of Alzheimer's, to be detected during brain scans. Among other things, this allows physicians to differentiate it from other neurodegenerative diseases that diminish memory and must be treated differently.

Avid is also working on a compound that binds to neurons in the brain, the loss of which could provide an early signal of Parkinson's disease.

Hank Kung, a University of Pennsylvania chemist, who worked with Penn neuropathologist Daniel Skovronsky, is Avid's chief scientific adviser. Skovronsky left Penn in 2005 to be chief executive officer of the new firm.

The Avid investors last quarter included AllianceBernstein L.P.; Lilly Ventures, the venture-capital group of Eli Lilly & Co.; Pfizer Strategic Investments Group; RK Ventures; and BioAdvance.

Safeguard's Pellini called Avid founder Skovronsky "a very dynamic chief executive who, in the last two years, has been able to put together a grade-A management team to build the company."

The firm's work has been validated, Pellini said, by investments and partnerships from major players in the pharmaceutical industry.

With 5.1 million Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Avid is working in a potentially lucrative field. "And they have a rich portfolio of additional opportunities, including diseases like diabetes," Pellini said.

The MoneyTree report, based on data compiled by Thomson Financial, tracks 17 industry sectors. In the second quarter, 14 sectors saw an increase nationwide in the number of deals, compared with the first quarter. But in 10 of the sectors, the number of dollars invested declined.

Software regained its ranking as the nation's largest sector, attracting $1.5 billion in 248 deals, its strongest quarter since 2001.

Biotechnology received the most dollars in three previous quarters.

Five sectors posted increases in total dollars and number of deals - consumer products and services; networking and equipment; semiconductors; industrial/energy; and computers/peripherals.

Contact staff writer Henry J. Holcomb at 215-854-2614 or hholcomb@phillynews.com.


Second-Quarter Venture-Capital Investments

The PricewaterhouseCoopers/Thomson Venture Economics/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree Survey tracks investments in some local companies by venture-capital firms. Only companies with $200,000 or more investment are shown.

Company / LocationType of businessInvestorsInvestment

Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc.

PhiladelphiaDevelops diagnostic imaging agents.AllianceBernstein L.P. (formerly Alliance Capital Management), BioAdvance, individuals, Lilly Ventures (formerly e.Lilly Ventures), Pfizer Strategic Investments Group (PSIG), RK Ventures, Safeguard Scientifics Inc.$26,009,200

CRI Worldwide (formerly CNS Research Institute)

ClementonProvides medical research through clinical trials.SV Life Sciences Advisers (Schroder Ventures Life Sciences)15,700,000

Ception Therapeutics Inc.

MalvernDevelops and discovers novel biologic and small-molecule agents.Greenlight Capital, undisclosed firm14,700,000

RecycleBank L.L.C.

PhiladelphiaProvides environmental solution of waste collection.RRE Ventures L.L.C., Sigma Partners13,100,000

InGrid Inc. (formerly Securinex Inc.)

BerwynDevelops wireless radio frequency ID based home security systems.CenterPoint Venture Partners, Novak Biddle Venture Partners L.P., PA Early Stage (Pennsylvania Early Stage Partners)10,500,000

Gentis Inc.

PhiladelphiaDevelops in-situ polymerizing spinal nucleus augmentation technology.Easton Hunt Capital Partners L.P., Ivy Capital Partners, Matignon Investissement et Gestion, Pappas Ventures (formerly A.M. Pappas & Associates L.L.C.)10,000,000

Pet Food Direct Inc.

HarleysvilleRetails and markets pet foods, supplies, and accessories.LLR Partners Inc.10,000,000

Ciclon Semiconductor Device Corp.

BethlehemDevelops high frequency power semiconductor solutions.Guggenheim Venture Partners, individuals, TL Ventures (formerly Radnor Venture Partners), Venrock Associates8,045,100

E-Duction Inc.

(formerly MarketMembers.com)

Blue BellProvides salary advancement services.Apex Venture Partners, Inter-Atlantic Group, PA Early Stage (Pennsylvania Early Stage Partners), RRE Ventures L.L.C., Total Technology Ventures L.L.C. (TTV), undisclosed firm7,500,200

Prism Pharmaceuticals Inc.

King of PrussiaDistributes medical drugs for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.Essex Woodlands Health Ventures (formerly Woodlands Venture)7,500,000

Lamina Ceramics Inc.

WestamptonDevelops and manufactures LED arrays.CID Equity Partners, Easton Hunt Capital Partners L.P., Granite Global Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, RedShift Ventures (formerly SpaceVest Capital)7,000,000

IntelliPath Corp.

LumbertonProvides automated connectivity solutions.Blueprint Ventures L.L.C., L Capital Partners6,500,000

Lightning Poker Inc.

BoothwynDesigns and develops electronic gaming systems.\Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, undisclosed venture firm5,000,000

Pharmena North America Inc.

Blue BellDevelops drugs focused on arterial health.Domain Associates L.L.C., undisclosed firm, undisclosed firm3,100,000

Textronics Inc.

WilmingtonDevelops specialized fibers and films for textile electronics.NGEN Partners L.L.C. (formerly NextGen Partners L.L.C.), SAS Investors, undisclosed firm2,000,000

Moda Technology Partners Inc.

WayneOperates as a software company focused on biopharmaceutical industry. Osage Investments1,500,000

Swift Financial Corp.

WilmingtonProvides financial services to businesses.Individuals, Sutter Hill Ventures, Village Ventures1,215,000

Miria Systems

MediaProvides enterprise content management.Edison Venture Fund1,000,000

SkillSurvey Inc.

BerwynProvides an online reference assessment tool.Individuals, Inflection Point Ventures, Lambda Funds, Milestone Venture Partners960,000

Marillion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

MalvernOperates a company focused on the discovery of novel drugs to treat cancers.BioAdvance, undisclosed venture firm650,000

National Vascular Care Inc.

Bryn MawrDevelops and operates Vascular Access Centers.Weston Presidio (formerly Weston Presidio Capital Management)500,000

RealWinWin Inc.

PhiladelphiaProvides Internet-based software for analysis of energy efficiency.Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds (formerly NEPA Management Corp.), undisclosed venture firm351,000

Immunotope Inc.

DoylestownDevelops immunotherapeutics for the treatment and prevention of cancer.Ben Franklin Technology Partners Southeastern Pennsylvania350,000

Life-Pack Technologies

AmblerManufactures products to improve multistory firefighting and rescue.Ben Franklin Technology Partners Southeastern Pennsylvania350,000

Small Bite Inc.

HaverfordDeveloped a weight-loss treatment using an invisible oral device.Ben Franklin Technology Partners Southeastern Pennsylvania300,000

CoreDial L.L.C.

Plymouth MeetingProvides businesses with IP phone systems and VoIP services.Ben Franklin Technology Partners Southeastern Pennsylvania250,000

Verilogue L.L.C.

North WalesEnables physicians to digitally record conversations with select patients.Ben Franklin Technology Partners Southeastern Pennsylvania237,000

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