venBio closes $315 million life sciences VC fund

May 6, 2016 – SAN FRANCISCO.  venBio Partners LLC, a global life sciences investment firm, today announced the closing of the venBio Global Strategic Fund II, its second life sciences venture capital fund, for a total of approximately $315 million, exceeding its target of $250 million. venBio’s Strategic Fund II is anchored by major investments from three strategic limited partners – Amgen, Merck, and Baxalta – along with a group of financial Limited Partners.

“We believe our fund model is unique. With the return of Amgen and Baxalta, along with the addition of Merck, the commitment from our Strategic Limited Partners is now larger than ever,” said Robert Adelman, M.D., managing partner at venBio. “Our investment model will remain the same. We continue to seek to finance promising life sciences companies that focus on therapeutics which we believe will make a difference for unmet medical needs.” 

“We tend to lead or co-lead our deals and take an active role in our investments. We often build management teams as well as syndicates,” commented Corey Goodman, Ph.D., managing partner at venBio. ”Whether a company is viewed traditionally as early or late stage, we are interested in best-in-class therapeutics. Our goal is to have our capital carry the company to proof-of-concept clinical data.”

The venBio Strategic Fund II is led by Drs. Adelman and Goodman. New members joining the team to support Fund II are Aaron Royston, M.D., as principal, and Jaume Pons, Ph.D., as venture partner. In addition to the San Francisco team, venBio is also overseen by Behzad Aghazadeh, Ph.D., a managing partner in New York.

“For Fund II, we are delighted to have added Aaron Royston and Jaume Pons to our investment team,” commented Dr. Goodman.

Dr. Royston was previously a senior associate at Vivo Capital, and before that a biotech consultant at Bain. He received his M.D. from U. Penn., his B.S. from Duke, and coordinated clinical research at Mt. Sinai.

Dr. Pons is currently CEO of Alexo Therapeutics, a venBio portfolio immuno-oncology company. He was previously a senior vice president at Pfizer and chief scientific officer at Rinat, Pfizer’s immuno-oncology center. He specializes in protein engineering. Dr. Pons has brought 12 antibodies into the clinic, with three currently in Phase 3. He previously worked at Chiron and was a postdoctoral fellow at U.C. Berkeley.

The two venBio strategic funds have invested in 14 companies to date, including: Cytos (now KURN), Aragon (acquired by J&J), Solstice, Labrys (acquired by Teva), Seragon (acquired by Roche/Genentech), Aurinia (AUPH), Heart Metabolics, Metacrine, Alexo, Precision Biosciences, Checkmate, Adheren, Apellis, and Nabriva (NBRV).

SOURCE venBio Partners