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Show Me the Money: Which Venture Capitalists Are Buying Biotech

Tired of knocking on venture capitalists' doors until your knuckles are bloody? Wish you had a cheat sheet listing which firms actually have money and are closing deals? Well, now you do.

FierceBiotech and the National Venture Capital Association ranked the 17 most active life science investors, each of which has done at least 14 deals in the last 18 months. Topping the list was Domain Associates, with 41 completed deals in the past year and a half, and many more soon to come thanks to a recently closed $500 million fund.

Rounding out the top five were HealthCare Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners, MPM Capital and Alta Partners.

The bad news is that although all the firms on the list are closing deals, they don't necessarily have money for the companies knocking on their doors.

Biotechs seeking new financial blood have been S.O.L. lately because the lack of exits has forced venture capitalists to invest heavily in inside rounds. The venture firms' portfolio companies -- trapped by the lack of an IPO window and acquisition gridlock -- need money to stay afloat. The trend has been for existing investors to pony up with rounds large enough to keep those outstretched hands busy until things turn around (hopefully!), and that means less money for new investments.

On the bright side -- some venture firms have raised new money to invest in new start-ups. About 70 percent of Domain's latest fund is slated for seed or Series A investments, and both New Leaf Venture Partners and Pappas Ventures also have money for preclinical, innovative NewCos.

But for privately-held biotechs trying to pick up investors for a later-stage round, well, you might want to buy some knuckle protectors.

Knuckle protector photo by Flickr user SoulRider.222, CC