Perceptive Advisors is moving into early-stage biotech investments in partnership with ex-Sarepta Therapeutics CEO Chris Garabedian. The $210 million fund began life by leading a $17 million series A round in Quellis Biosciences, reflecting its plans to take the lead on early-stage investments.
Across almost 20 years of life science investing, Perceptive has largely eschewed early-stage rounds, choosing instead to typically get involved once clinical-phase biotechs need bigger sums to take them up to an IPO or trade sale. However, like some other traditionally later-stage investors such as Novo Ventures, Perceptive now sees value in getting involved earlier.
Perceptive is making the move into the somewhat unfamiliar territory in partnership with an ally who knows the terrain. Rather than fly solo, Perceptive has teamed up with Garabedian’s Xontogeny to create its first venture capital fund.
The Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund, also known by the snappier sobriquet the PXV Fund, plans to be the sole or predominant lead investor in eight to 10 series As, committing $10 million to $20 million a time to secure itself that privileged position in rounds. The $210 million warchest will also enable the PXV Fund to play a role in the series B rounds of the biotechs it backs.
Through the investments, the PXV Fund intends to support biotechs as they take preclinical leads into or through early clinical development. Perceptive expects the fund to place “a greater emphasis on drug technologies and less focus on early drug and platform discovery.”
Garabedian will lead the PXV Fund, supported by the resources of Perceptive and his own Xontogeny.
“Chris is fully integrated with our team of analysts to help select the best investments, and his Xontogeny team provides a steady pipeline of opportunities for the fund through their sourcing, evaluation, and incubation of startups with seed financing and active operational management,” Perceptive CEO Joseph Edelman said in a statement.
Perceptive unveiled the fund in conjunction with news of its first investment, Quellis Biosciences. The Boston-based startup received seed funding from Xontogeny and flew under the radar during its first two years, in which time it advanced antibody treatments against an undisclosed rare disease using technology licensed from Xencor. Now, the PXV Fund is bankrolling Quellis’ next steps.