Belldegrun's Third Fund Continues "Bold Investment Strategy" with $825 Million
Vida Ventures, a life sciences venture firm founded by Ari Belldegrun, closed on its third fund, Vida Ventures III, worth $825 million. Vida was founded in 2017 and currently has more than $1.7 billion of assets it manages.
Belldegrun was the founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Kite Pharma until he sold it to Gilead Sciences in 2017 for $11.9 billion. He then founded Bellco Capital, the family office.
Vida Ventures III will approach investments the same way its first two funds do, identifying and investing in what they believe to be transformative biomedical innovative companies. In the case of Vida III, the oversubscribed funds were raised from existing and new blue-chip institution investors, “including top-tier endowments and foundations, sovereign wealth funds, pensions, financial institutions, family offices, fund-of-funds and notable individuals.”
Vida’s leadership includes Belldegrun as co-founder and senior managing director; Helen S. Kim, senior managing director; Arjun Goyal, co-founder and managing director; Stefan Vitorovic, co-founder and managing director; Rajul Jain, managing director; Jean-Philippe Kouakou-Zebouah, chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
“As investors, company builders and life science supporters, each of us at Vida is driven by the opportunity to unlock the power of science,” said Belldegrun. “From our formation to today with the close of Vida III, the goal is to do our part in converting dreams into groundbreaking therapies for patients.
"We are grateful to our existing investors who have continued to support us and to those new investors who are partnering with us on the next phase of our journey. Over the last three years, our proven approach to life sciences investing brings together a network of industry experts alongside a powerful investor base undaunted by inherent challenges in drug development, to fundamentally change the course of human disease,” he continued.
Vida’s portfolio includes A2 Biotherapeutics, Aktis Oncology, Allogene Therapeutics, AskBio, Homology Medicines, Iconovir Bio, Kronos Bio, Neogene Therapeutics, Oyster Point Pharma, ReCode Therapeutics and many others.
On June 21, Vida announced that one of its companies, Centessa Pharmaceuticals, with locations in Cambridge, Mass. and London, closed on its initial public offering (IPO) of 16.5 million American Depositary Shares, and its underwriters had fully exercised their option to acquire an addition 2.475 million ADSs at the IPO price of $20 per ADS. Centessa has a broad pipeline ranging from preclinical to Phase III programs in oncology, hematology, immunology, inflammation, neuroscience and rare diseases. Its lead program, Lixivaptan, is in Phase III for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.
On April 15, another one of its companies, Tectonic Therapeutic, raised $80 million in a Series A financing. The financing was co-led by Vida, TA Springer, and Polaris Partners, with participation from EcoR1 Capital.
Based in Boston, Tectonic was co-founded in 2019 by Andrew Kruse, professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and Timothy A. Springer, Latham Family Professor and professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. They focus on GPCR-targeted therapies, which are a target of about 30% of currently approved drugs. The company’s platform allows it to develop a broad line of biologics against receptors in the class.
Of the new fund, Helen Kim said, “We embrace a flexible mandate that allows us to dynamically source the most promising opportunities regardless of geography, stage of development or financing. Vida III will allow us to continue our bold investment strategy and provide first-hand operational and strategic expertise that helps innovators change the treatment landscape for patients.”