Frazier Healthcare Partners hits $419M for early-stage biotech play

California investment firm Frazier Healthcare Partners has gone over its hard cap target of $400 million as it looks to inject cash into early life science work.

The company, which saw $419 million in total capital commitments, will look to build on its historic work that has typically focused on drugs making the transition from preclinical through clinical proof-of-concept.

The so-called Frazier Life Sciences IX marks its second dedicated Life Sciences fund; back in 2015, it unveiled its first pure play in this sector, with a $262 million raise.

RELATED: Frazier unveils a $262M pure-play biotech venture fund

From that, recent Frazier IPOs and exits include Acerta Pharma (which was acquired by AstraZeneca and just yesterday saw FDA approval for its new cancer med); Tobira Therapeutics (which was last year bought up by Allergan), and 2013 Fierce 15 winner AnaptysBio, which got off its IPO at the start of the year.

Frazier Life Sciences IX will target two-thirds of its investments in early seed and series A rounds, with many of these investments expected to come from the team’s company creation efforts.

Asked about which therapy areas, if any in particular, would be its focus, the company said “We do not focus on any one therapeutic area,” but historic areas of investment have included a range of disease areas, including hematologic oncology, immuno-oncology, anti-infectives, orphan diseases, diseases, pain, and many others. 

“Our future investments will likely be in similar areas of medical need where we have exceptional teams to back,” the firm says.

The company said it is predominately focused on early-stage biomedical R&D, despite the inherent risks, because “We believe that venture-backed companies play an integral role in the biopharma ecosystem, which is evidenced by the fact that around 75% of drugs approved each year come from small/midsized biotechs at some point during the drug’s development (discovery, development, or in some cases, approval). Collaboration, and advancing the best ideas as quickly as possible, is now part of the DNA of our industry, and it is fantastic to see amazing innovation and investment across the spectrum of early science through late-stage trials.”

The firm explained that its methodology is to “focus on investing in product-focused companies that have the potential to generate meaningful clinical data in 3-5 years. We take a team-focused approach, and are very proud that the vast majority of our companies involve backing teams we have worked with before at prior portfolio companies.

“Company creation is an important element of our strategy, as 30%-40% of our investments come from companies that are started by our venture partners, EIRs, or other team members (examples include Calistoga, Incline, Silvergate, etc.). Most of these opportunities are started around products spun out from biopharma or academia.”

The company said investors are still keenly interested in early life science, despite the risks.

“Early-stage risks only work if you get rewarded upon success, and this generally entails focusing on the toughest diseases where there are few approved therapies, and advancing drugs that have the potential to significantly advance standard of care. At Frazier, we’re incredibly proud of the drugs that have come out of our portfolio, and as long as venture-backed biopharma can keep discovering and developing meaningful drugs, we think there will continue to be keen interest in the sector from LPs, strategies, etc.

“Frazier Life Sciences IX was heavily oversubscribed, and we had the support of most of our investors in Frazier Life Sciences VIII [its most recent fund].”