Sanofi-backed Jeito Capital closes $630M fund to finance 12-15 European biopharmas

After gaining high-profile backing from Sanofi last November, French venture firm Jeito Capital has pulled together more partners to close its first fund at 534 million euros ($630 million).

That large pool of capital will go toward financing between 12 and 15 European biopharmas and contributes to the mission of CEO and founder Rafaèle Tordjman, M.D., Ph.D., who was tasked by the French government with boosting the biotech ecosystem in the country earlier this summer. Jeito will invest up to $100 million in a portfolio company. 

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Jeito is "quite actively" looking at investing in biopharmas working on autoimmune disease and inflammatory disorder treatments, Tordjman said in an interview with Fierce Biotech.

Those are the "next big thing in terms of understanding better the science, like what happened in oncology 10 years ago," Tordjman said. The venture shop also has its eyes on biopharmas focused on the central nervous system, the CEO added. Jeito has looked at companies working on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments but has yet to invest in them due to the firm's long-term focus, she said. 

When it comes to modalities, Jeito does not want to be a specialist, Tordjman said. 

“Manufacturing is quite an issue to really optimize for gene therapy or cell therapy, so we are looking to non-viral types of gene therapies," the CEO said. 

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Initially unveiled with 200 million euros in January 2020, Jeito has so far made five investments across four countries: France, the Netherlands, the U.K. and Switzerland. The portfolio spans multiple indications, including ophthalmology at SparingVision, rare skeletal disorders at InnoSkel, solid tumors at Neogene Therapeutics, severe respiratory diseases at Johnson & Johnson-backed Pulmocide, and fibrosis and related cancers at Alentis Therapeutics.

While the main focus is on Europe, Jeito will expand its presence in the U.S., where one partner lives in New York City, Tordjman said. The goal is to aid European biopharmas in preparing for a "global reach," she said. 

Aside from Sanofi's 50 million euro commitment, Jeito's other investors include BNP Paribas Fortis, Aviva, AXA, the European Investment Fund, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, Temasek and others.