Sands Capital Launches $555M Life Sciences Fund Focusing on Private Companies

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Pictured: Businesspeople discussing graphs during a meeting/iStock, jacoblund

Investment management firm Sands Capital has unveiled its third life sciences fund, which will have $555 million available for companies developing novel therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices.

The new fund, dubbed Pulse III, is Sands Capital’s third life sciences fund and brings its total capital commitment in the industry to $1.3 billion. The Virginia-based investment firm did not provide specifics regarding its priority disease areas or modalities, only revealing that it would focus on “private companies helping transform how diseases are defined, diagnosed and treated.”

“The life sciences sector continues to innovate at a rapid pace, leading to breakthroughs that benefit both patients and society as a whole,” Stephen Zachary, managing partner at Sands Capital, said in a statement.

The announcement comes nearly three years after Sands Capital closed its second life sciences fund, dubbed Pulse II, raising $560 million, which is also earmarked for private companies working on therapeutics, diagnostics and life science tools.

Through its Pulse program launched in 2018, Sands Capital has supported nearly 40 life sciences companies including Karuna Therapeutics, Freenome and RayzeBio, which recently got bought by BMS for $3.6 billion. Pulse typically makes investments ranging from $25 million to $40 million and prioritizes “businesses that are making advances in areas of large unmet medical need.”

Sands Capital has led the Series C funding round of California-based Alamar Biosciences, which leverages precision proteomics to enable early disease detection. The $128 million in financing for Alamar, which closed in February 2024, will be used to advance its proprietary NULISA technology.

The same month, Sands Capital also participated in the $254 million fundraising round for Freenome, which uses multiomics-powered blood tests to detect cancers early. The financing was led by Roche and will allow the California biotech to advance its initial programs for colorectal and lung cancers.

Sands Capital also backed Avenzo Therapeutics in its March 2024 Series A-1 round, raising $150 million to develop next-generation cancer therapies. Avenzo’s lead program is AVZ-021, a CDK2 selective inhibitor with best-in-class potential for breast cancer and other tumors with elevated cyclin E levels, such as ovarian and small cell lung cancer.

Other companies that Sands Capital has backed this year include Elephas, which is focused on a cancer imaging platform to predict immunotherapy response, and BioAge, a California-based biotech working on obesity and metabolic disease treatments.

Tristan Manalac is an independent science writer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. Reach out to him on LinkedIn or email him at tristan@tristanmanalac.com or tristan.manalac@biospace.com.

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