5AM Ventures Pumps Another $750 Million into Life Sciences Industry
Venture capital firm 5AM Ventures, which has provided funding to a bevy of life sciences companies including Rallybio, Cleave Therapeutics, Cidara Therapeutics and Audentes Therapeutics, closed two new funds that will ultimately provide a combined $750 million in investments.
5AM Ventures, which has been making investments in the industry since 2002, closed Ventures VII, a $450 million early-stage fund, and Opportunities II, a $300 million fund aimed at late-stage companies. The $450 million aimed at early-stage companies will expand the firm’s goals of discovering and incubating startups and breakthrough life sciences companies. Both funds will be used to invest in existing 5AM Venture partners, as well as expand the firm’s portfolio of companies.
With the close of these two funds, Andrew Schwab, managing partner at 5AM Ventures, said the firm has raised more than $2.2 billion to invest in the life sciences industry. Schwab said 5AM is proud of the “transformational impact” that the companies it has invested in are making on the lives of patients as they attempt to develop new therapies and treatments for a multitude of disease indications.
One 5AM company, rare disease-focused Rallybio, has swiftly advanced its platform and financing capabilities, including an $80.6 million initial public offering last year. The company is enrolling patients in a Phase I study assessing RLYB212, a novel human monoclonal anti-HPA-1a antibody, being developed for the prevention of fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT). If RLYB212 proves successful in the clinic, it will become the first approved therapy for the prevention or treatment of FNAIT.
Audentes, an Astellas company now known as Astellas Gene Therapies, established a global Gene Therapy Center of Excellence last year. The company is exploring three gene therapy modalities: gene replacement, exon skipping gene therap, and vectorized RNA knockdown.
Last month, Cidara dosed the first patients in its Phase I study of CD388, an antiviral immunotherapy designed to deliver universal prevention of seasonal and pandemic influenza. The study is being conducted in collaboration with Janssen.
In addition to closing the two new funds, 5AM added two industry veterans to support its mission. Elliott Levy and Paula Soteropoulos joined the investment firm as a venture partner and strategic adviser, respectively. Levy previously served as head of global development at Amgen and before that, was president and head of specialty development at Bristol Myers Squibb. Levy serves on the boards of Omega Therapeutics and Nucana plc.
Soteropoulos was previously the chief executive officer of Akcea Therapeutics. She also held leadership roles at Moderna and Sanofi. At Moderna, she was head of cardiometabolic, rare diseases and strategic alliances, while at Sanofi Genzyme, she held numerous roles. Soteropoulos is a member of the boards of Rallybio, Ensoma, uniQure and Kyowa Kirin North America. She also serves on the advisory boards of Cheisi Rare Disease and Tufts Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.