VenBio raises $550M to back its next batch of biotech startups

VenBio banked about $550 million in its latest fund to invest in a dozen or so new life sciences companies as well as to support its portfolio companies in financings both private and public. 

The $550 million in committed capital will go into a new fund called venBio Global Strategic Fund IV, or Fund IV for short. As with its three predecessors, the firm will invest Fund IV primarily in companies “developing biopharmaceuticals for unmet medical needs.” 

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These could be very early-stage companies or more mature ones, platform companies with many potential directions or an asset-based company with a clear road map, said Aaron Royston, M.D., managing partner at venBio, in a previous interview. 

“With Fund IV we intend to continue our proven approach of helping to build 12-15 companies per fund while doubling down on winners by providing stronger support for our portfolio companies in crossover rounds and at IPO,” said Corey Goodman, Ph.D., managing partner of venBio, in a statement. 

Since it set up shop in 2011, venBio has raised nearly $1.5 billion and led financing rounds in 34 companies. The latest fund eclipsed its target as well as its predecessor by about $150 million. VenBio raised Fund III in April 2020.  

“We remain committed to our unique approach and strategy and hope the results speak for themselves—our portfolio companies have delivered four drugs to market for six clinical indications, and another seven drug candidates are demonstrating promising late-stage efficacy,” said Robert Adelman, M.D., managing partner at venBio, in the statement. 

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Those four drugs include Harmony Biosciences’ excessive daytime sleepiness med Wakix and Apellis Pharma’s Empaveli, a treatment for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a rare, life-threatening blood disease. The other two drugs are Aragon Pharmeceuticals’ prostate cancer treatment Erleada and Labrys Biologics’ migraine med Ajovy, which are now marketed by Johnson & Johnson and Teva, respectively.