Sanofi has invested €50 million ($59 million) in French VC firm Jeito Capital. The investment, Sanofi’s first in a private French fund, boosts Rafaèle Tordjman’s efforts to establish Jeito as an emerging force in the European biotech VC scene.
Tordjman spent 16 years as a managing partner at Sofinnova Partners before leaving and founding Jeito in 2017. Jeito flew below the radar in its early years. That changed in January when Jeito broke cover with €200 million in cash from institutional investors and family offices. Since then, Jeito has disclosed two of the approximately 15 investments it plans to make using the money.
In September, Jeito co-led a $110 million series A financing in Neogene Therapeutics, a transatlantic developer of fully personalized neo-antigen T cell therapies. The next month, Jeito participated in a €44.5 million investment in French gene therapy startup SparingVision. Sanofi has signed up to help Jeito make more bets and, in doing so, strengthen its ties to the European biotech scene.
“This investment provides Sanofi with access to the very best in French and European healthcare innovation and reinforces our commitment to investing in our medium and long-term development pipeline,” Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson said in a statement.
Hudson went on to say Sanofi strongly believes France and the rest of Europe have the potential to become a world-class hub for life science innovation, provided “the appropriate conditions and a stimulating environment” they need to thrive are in place. The comments come months after a report that Sanofi is set to ax up to 1,680 jobs in Europe, including 1,000 in France, its home market.
Sanofi previously worked with Bpifrance, the French investment bank, to set up two public-private investment funds focused on the life sciences industry in France and the rest of Europe. Jeito is the first private French fund to receive investment from Sanofi.