Meet Binney Street Capital: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's first venture fund

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is getting into the life science funding biz with the launch of its venture arm Binney Street Capital.

Dana-Farber is certainly no stranger to backing biotechs and teaming up with other VCs; a year back, it penned a deal with MPM Capital to create a so-called venture philanthropy alliance, raising a $100 million investment fund and $26 million in donations to support early-stage research.

It also has experience in co-launching new biotechs, with some being bought out by Big Pharmas along the way.

But now it wants to run its own VC, and Binney Street Capital will help by investing in new research and technologies to treat uncurable cancers. This will include therapeutics, diagnostics, digital health and services companies.  

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The plan is to funnel cash into between eight to 10 companies over the next three years, with $250,000 and up to $2 million per investment. Who this goes to will be decided by an advisory group made up of leading investors and industry experts, Dan-Farber said in a statement.

Investments will be made from Dan-Farber investment funds, and the returns on these will be used as a new revenue stream “for additional Institute research.”

 The group has tapped Luba Greenwood to lead the fund and its investments; she spent time at Roche and Alphabet’s research unit Verily where she was its business development officer.

She left Verily in 2019 to teach at Harvard University, whilst also taking up an advisory role at Dana-Farber, ultimately leading to her running Binney.

“I am excited to capitalize on some of the exciting therapeutics, diagnostic, and digital health opportunities coming out of Dana-Farber,” said Greenwood.