Canaan Secures More Than $100M in New Biopharma Funding, Adds Former Pfizer Executive

C-suite strategies

Pictured: Photo illustration of hundred dollar bill and graph/iStock, Darren415

Healthcare and technology-focused venture capital firm Canaan is adding $100 million in new capital to its biopharma investment funds, the company announced Wednesday. 

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based firm’s injection of new funds will bring the company’s total amount raised since early 2023 to over $1 billion. In April 2023, Canaan announced it had secured $850 million and had started a new fund called Canaan XIII, with the healthcare portion aiming to help create biopharmaceutical and therapeutic companies.

The fund is also looking to invest in companies tackling unmet clinical and medical needs, including potential investments in the oncology, immunology, neurology, cardiology and respiratory sectors.

Canaan has also added to its investment team by bringing on board Uwe Schoenbeck, formerly the senior vice president and chief science officer of emerging science and innovation at Pfizer’s worldwide research, development, and medical division. Schoenbeck’s responsibilities at Pfizer included working on external breakthrough science and assets and being responsible for a cross-therapeutic portfolio through Pfizer’s academic partnering model, the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI).

According to Canaan, Schoenbeck’s leadership at Pfizer advanced several CTI projects into Phase II and Phase III and saw him forming several early external companies through seed and equity investments. 

Before working at Pfizer, Schoenbeck was vice president of emerging R&D at Wyeth and vice president of cardiovascular research at Boehringer Ingelheim.

“It is not often that we have the opportunity to add someone of Uwe’s caliber and track record to the Canaan investment team. He is a particularly good fit for Canaan as he shares our vision for how to identify breakthrough science, team with entrepreneurs, create and support biopharma companies, and, ultimately, advance patient care,” Tim Shannon, general partner at Canaan, said in a statement.

Schoenbeck has already hit the ground running with Canaan as he led the firm’s participation in the $132 million Series B for Alterome Therapeutics earlier this month and became a member of the biotech’s board of directors. 

“Our healthcare and technology teams have been diligently making progress executing investments in partnership with entrepreneurs to create and support transformational companies. The addition of Uwe and the new funds we raised will enable us to continue advancing today’s most innovative science to produce important new medicines capable of addressing significant unmet needs of patients around the world,” John Pacifico, general partner, COO and CFO of Canaan, said in a statement.

Last month, Canaan also contributed to the $62 million Series B of Nocion Therapeutics to help advance its candidate to treat chronic cough. 

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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