Regeneron builds new venture arm with $500M commitment to invest in biotech and beyond

Regeneron is joining its pharma peers in the venture investing sector, committing up to $500 million over the next five years for its new private financing arm. 

The New York pharma unveiled Regeneron Ventures on Monday with Jay Markowitz, M.D., and Michael Aberman, M.D., at the helm, both of whom were previously executives at Regeneron. Markowitz said in a release that the outfit would be “agnostic to therapeutic area, technology and stage of development.” That wide-ranging view includes companies beyond drug development, including “devices, tools and enabling technologies.” 

“We tolerate risk and uncertainty. We are open-minded. We doubt and question,” the team described itself in the announcement. 

Markowitz joins from Arch Venture Partners, where he was a senior partner and helped launch three companies. He was a senior vice president at Regeneron from 2017 to 2020 after more than 16 years in public investing roles, including eight at T. Rowe Price. Aberman spent seven years at Regeneron, including as the senior vice president of investor relations and strategy. He went on to lead a couple of biotechs: Quentis Therapeutics and XenImmune Therapeutics. 

“Our goal is to cultivate an ecosystem where the next generation of biotech companies can thrive, drawing on the lessons learned and successes achieved at Regeneron and throughout our careers,” Aberman said in the release. “Together, we will strive to identify and support groundbreaking advancements that push the boundaries of what's possible in science and medicine.”

Regeneron joins nearly all of its Big Pharma peers in having a venture capital wing. Sanofi, Ei Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Astellas and Novartis were some of the largest corporate investors in 2023, according to a tally by HSBC. Not only do the firms act as run-of-the-mill venture investors, but they can also serve as the eyes and ears of their respective pharma companies in the hunt for potential partnerships or deals. 

But biotech’s cold streak last year meant that some had to recalibrate their investment goals. Juergen Eckhardt, M.D., head of Bayer’s VC arm Leaps by Bayer, told Fierce Biotech in December 2023 that the firm was not committed to a goal set in 2022 to invest another 1.3 billion euros through 2024. 

“Way fewer deals are getting done than used to be, and so we are not just pouring out the money,” he said at the time.