Alta raises $130M for its new biotech VC fund, missing its $200M goal

A stethoscope and paper money.
The new fund's initial investments include Allakos, DispatchHealth, eGenesis and Fierce 15 winner Vir Biotechnology, which has raised over $500 million to date. (Getty/utah778)

Healthcare venture capital firm Alta Partners has launched a new fund focused on companies developing new therapeutics and health technology services. It closed with $130 million, below the $200 million it had hoped to raise according to a February 2017 SEC filing.

Titled Alta Partners NextGen Fund I, its initial investments include antibody-developer Allakos; mobile and virtual healthcare company DispatchHealth; eGenesis, focused in gene editing and xenotransplantation; and Fierce 15 winner Vir Biotechnology, which aims to use immune programming to create new drugs and vaccines.

Peter Hudson and Bob More joined Alta founding partner Dan Janney as new managing directors in 2016 to raise the new fund, the ninth in the firm’s history.

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Before joining Alta, More served as a senior advisor for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he led the Global Health Venture Initiative after 20 years in venture capital. Hudson, meanwhile, is a physician, entrepreneur and investor with over two decades of experience founding and growing healthcare-related businesses, the fund said in a statement

“We are seeking next generation, technology-enabled healthcare solutions,” said Hudson. “We see data and technology accelerating innovation in all sectors of healthcare delivery, allowing for patient and provider engagement that will create significant efficiencies and drive unprecedented value.”

RELATED: Vir Biotechnology | 2017 Fierce 15

Founded last year, Vir Biotechnology has since raised at least $500 million for its research, much from ARCH Venture Partners, the Gates Foundation and the SoftBank Vision Fund. The brainchild of ARCH co-founder Robert Nelson, the stealthy company brought on former Biogen head George Scangos as CEO in January 2017.

Vir later partnered with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and four academic research labs to develop treatments for infectious diseases. Vir also acquired Humabs BioMed, a Swiss company developing more than 15 antibodies to treat certain viral diseases.

In December 2017, Allakos raised $100 million in a financing round from New Enterprise Associates, Partner Fund Management and Roche Ventures. The biotech plans to advance its antibody pipeline into later-phase clinical trials in allergenic, inflammatory and proliferative diseases.

eGenesis, meanwhile, brought in $38 million in a series A round to develop CRISPR technology to help humanize pig organs and make them safe for use in transplants. Researchers used the gene-editing methods to inactivate a family of retroviruses native to pigs that can cause immunological complications.

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