San Diego Business Journal

Life sciences companies dominated a list of the region’s largest venture capital investments in the second quarter.

In a quarter that saw 39 deals and $805.8 million in San Diego venture capital, four of the top five investments went to life sciences firms. That’s according to a July MoneyTree report by PwC and CB Insights.

Poseida Therapeutics topped the list. The company raised $142 million in a Series C round to advance therapies that alter immune cells to kill cancer.

The $142 million financing — which included a $75 million equity investment from Novartis Pharma AG — postponed earlier plans for an initial public offering.

Acutus Medical ranked second with a $100 million Series D round. While it wasn’t counted in the total, the company also secured a $70 million loan.

Funds will commercialize Acutus’ 3-D imaging technology for heart procedures.

The only company outside of life sciences in the top five, TuSimple was No. 3 after securing a $95 million Series D round for autonomous trucking software, according to the report.

Although software companies are raising larger rounds in San Diego, life sciences still makes up most of the venture capital investment.

So far in 2019, health care accounted for about 63% of the total amount invested in the region, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. For the U.S., health care accounted for a much smaller amount: 21% of total investment.

Following TuSimple, Vividion Therapeutics pulled in $82 million in a Series B round. The biotech is targeting “undruggable” proteins to create new medicines in challenging areas.

Rounding out the top five, Locana emerged with a $55 million Series A round to redirect the gene-editing system CRISPR to target RNA as opposed to DNA.

Locana believes manipulating RNA, which carries DNA instructions to cells, holds the key to developing drugs for genetic diseases.

San Diego’s $805.8 million of venture capital in the second quarter eclipsed the $558.6 million of investment during the same period last year, according to MoneyTree.

The latest quarter also represented a big jump from the slower start to the year. The region brought in $296.3 million in venture dollars in the first quarter.