Belldegrun's Vida raises $600M biotech investment fund

Members of the Vida Ventures leadership team (Vida Ventures)

Arie Belldegrun’s Vida Ventures has put together a $600 million fund, moving the total raised by the VC shop in its two-year history up toward $1 billion. 
 
The second fund builds on the early successes of Vida’s original $255 million investment vehicle. Three of the 14 biotechs backed by the first fund went on to IPO. That list of biotechs includes Allogene Therapeutics, the cell therapy startup Belldegrun co-founded after selling Kite Pharma. Another of Vida’s first batch of bets, Peloton Therapeutics, was bought by Merck in a deal worth up to $2.2 billion.

Vida used that track record to quickly put together a far bigger fund, tapping investors in the first fund and new organizations such as endowments, foundations and family offices for money. The money sets Vida to continue on the track it set out on upon its foundation in 2017. 

“As a result of our deep and varied network, we are able to see a vast pipeline of investment prospects and the opportunity to back market leaders in achieving their next phase of development,” Fred Cohen, Vida co-founder and senior managing director, said in a statement.

Vida added to its team in anticipation of closing the second fund, bringing Helen Kim, Rajul Jain, Heba Nowyhed and Eric Trac on board. Belldegrun worked with Kim during his time at Kite, where she served as executive vice president of business development. Jain also crossed paths with Belldegrun at Kite, which he joined in 2014 to oversee a 200-person team developing engineered cell therapy products. Nowyhed held positons at Kite, too.

The new hires will work to help Vida pick out the most promising opportunities from the vast pipeline of potential life science investments and then support the portfolio companies as they make their ways toward inflection points.