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Dealflow: Jan. 9-15: It's called venture capital

by James Summitt  |  Published January 18, 2012 at 3:32 PM ET
Romney,-Mitt-227x128.jpg"I worked in what's called venture capital," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney explained to a New Hampshire crowd last week. "When you have other people's money and your own invested in something, you're very careful with it."

During the week of Jan. 9, other venture capitalists were carefully investing people's money in the former Massachusetts governor's state. Boston-based Third Rock Ventures LLC announced on Jan. 10 that it's launching Cambridge, Mass.-based Warp Drive Bio. With $125 million in initial financing Third Rock, Sanofi SA and Greylock Partners, the newly formed company plans to use genomics technology to develop natural drugs. The announcement states that there could be a "possible future acquisition of Warp Drive by Sanofi if certain milestones are achieved."

On the other side of the country, Fisker Automotive Inc. pulled in its next round of financing. The Anaheim, Calif.-based electric car company received $110 million in Series D-1, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The additional funding came from unknown investors. Fisker has raised more than $876 million in financing from an assortment of investors, including A123 Systems Inc., Ace Investments and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. 

Further up the road, San Jose, Calif.-based Aria Diagnostics Inc. announced on Jan. 9 that it had accumulated $52.7 million in Series C funding from Meritech Capital Partners and a "prominent mutual fund group."  According to CEO Ken Song, the molecular diagnostics company will use the financing to "prepare commercialization of its proprietary prenatal test to detect common fetal trisomies." Aria raised $14.8 million from previous investors, including Venrock and Domain Associates LLC.

In other molecular news, Warren, N.J.-based Roka Bioscience Inc. announced on Jan. 6  $47.5 million in Series D funding led by Aisling Capital. The molecular-testing company, which focuses on the food safety industry, plans to use the new capital to "support commercialization of the company's Atlas system and ongoing assay development." The initial tranche of $27.5 million was closed in December, and the remaining $20 million is expect to close sometime this year. Roka has raised a total of $104.7 million since its inception. Existing investors include OrbiMed Advisors, New Enterprise Associates and TPG Biotech.

Now that's what's called venture capital.