Five VC Firms Repeatedly Flex Financial Muscles in Biopharma

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Over the first five months of 2021, billions of dollars have been invested in the biopharma industry to support the development of innovative therapies for multiple disease indications. Some of the supporting financiers crop up time and again in financing announcements as they spread the wealth to multiple companies in different stages of drug development.

BioSpace looks at five of the top investor companies that support life sciences companies across the industry.

Arch Venture Partners – For more than 30 years, Arch Venture Partners has been supporting disruptive companies with bold visions to combat disease. Arch typically invests between $50,000 and $150 million when it supports financing rounds. 

Some of the industry’s biggest names are supported by Arch Ventures, including Alnylam, Denali Therapeutics, GRAIL Therapeutics, bluebird bio, Agios, SAGE Therapeutics, Twist Biosciences and more. 

In April, Arch Ventures backed the launch of Treeline Biosciences, formed by Josh Bilenker, Eli Lilly’s former head of cancer R&D, and Novartis vet Jeff Engelman. The company also backed a $139 Million Series B to support Jaguar Gene Therapy. 

Sofinnova Partners – European venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners is well known for backing European biotech and pharma companies. The European VC firm has more than $2.2 billion in its investment funds. 

In March, Sofinnova Partners closed the oversubscribed $540 million (€445 million) Sofinnova Crossover Fund. The fund will focus on European clinical-stage companies needing scale-up capital and support best-in-class companies in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Flagship Pioneering – Since its launch in 2000, Flagship Pioneering has invested more than $2.3 billion to launch and support its pioneering companies. Additionally, the VC firm has invested more than $19 billion of follow-on investments from other institutions. 

The VC firm has been behind multiple companies launches this year, including Laronde and Inzen TherapeuticsLaronde aims to pioneer new eRNA-based medication, a new type of drug developed at Flagship Labs by general partner Avak Kahvejian. eRNA is a cousin to mRNA, which Moderna, a Flagship company, has pioneered. 

In January, Flagship launched Inzen Therapeutics to develop new medications based on a new area of biology expected to provide new therapeutic approaches. This new pathway discovered by Flagship is called Thanokine Biology.

OrbiMed – In March, life sciences investment firm announced $3.5 billion in commitments for its latest private investment funds. That included $1.5 billion for OrbiMed Private Investments VIII, $800 million for OrbiMed Asia Partners IV, and $1.2 billion for OrbiMed Royalty & Credit Opportunities III. 

The new funds secured in March bring OrbiMed’s assets to approximately $18 billion to invest in life sciences companies. 

Recently, OrbiMed has used its assets to support the $230 Million Series C for Clover Biopharmaceuticals, which focuses on oncology and autoimmune diseases, as well as viral vaccines. OrbiMed also supported the $28.5 million Series B financing round for Israel’s SpliSense, which focuses on cystic fibrosis and other genetic pulmonary diseases.

Atlas Ventures – For more than 25 years, Atlas Ventures has been supporting biotech and pharma companies. Last year, Atlas Ventures closed its twelfth fund with more than $400 million ready to use to bolster startup biotech and life science companies. Since 2017, Atlas has raised $1 billion across three funds to advance new medicines for patients.


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