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Philadelphia is having its best year for VC deals since 2000

Ninety-three percent of raises came from heath and medical care companies.

Center City at night. (Photo by Flickr user Michael Righi, under a Creative Commons license)

At the close of the third quarter of 2019, Philadelphia is having its best year in terms of deals in the region in nearly two decades, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)/CB Insights MoneyTree report.

In Q3, the Philadelphia region saw 17 deals that totaled $483 million — a huge increase from Q2’s deals that totaled $259 million.

“Philadelphia is having a great year overall with a quarter to go,” Brad Phillips, an advisor to emerging technology and life science companies at PwC, told Technical.ly. “At the current pace, the region is having its best year in 20 years — there’s certainly an upward trend.”

Philadelphia has already surpassed $1 billion in deals for the year after only Q3. That much money hasn’t changed hands since the year 2000. Yes, that’s the dot-com boom.

The main reason for Philadelphia’s Q3 success is a huge deal by Century Therapeutics, which raised $250 million to use adult stem cells to develop curative allogeneic cell therapies for cancer.

Other deals in the top 10 for the quarter include genetic medicines company Passage Bio’s also-massive $110 million, Plymouth Meeting-based biopharmaceutical company Harmony Biosciences’ $50 million, data analytics startup Crossbeam’s $12.5 million, ecommerce company Sidecar’s $7.5 million and cell therapy startup Carisma Therapeutics’ $6 million.

This quarter’s deals continue to solidify the region’s place as a leader in healthcare innovation, as 93% of the deals in Q3 fell into that industry, including pharmacy, biotechnology and medtech, Phillips said.

Both in Philadelphia and nationally, Phillips said, there’s been a trend of a fewer number of deals but ones that carry higher price tags. Overall, this likely means that later-stage companies are seeing more investments. Phillips added that this trend has continued over the last few quarters both regionally and nationally.

And on the national stage, big money went to industries in the tech sphere such as artificial intelligence and finance technology. In Q3 nationally, there were $1.9 billion worth of deals going into fintech companies and $1.6 billion into AI companies.

These industries are “not only hot, but getting large deals,” Phillips said.

Q4 already has a few deals in the books, too, including N3rd Street Gamers’ $12 million raise.

Companies: Carisma Therapeutics Inc. / Crossbeam / Sidecar

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