BioMotiv garners $46M for early-stage licensing deals, R&D work

New backers have upped Cleveland-based BioMotiv's financial backing to $46 million, substantially increasing the firepower of an early-stage drug developer looking to assemble a portfolio of new therapies under its wing.

BioMotiv CEO Baiju R. Shah

Initially launched with $21 million from University Hospitals of Cleveland and the Harrington Family, BioMotiv is the for-profit arm of a group that is designed to pluck promising new treatments out of the academic field and get them into early-stage testing, positioning the programs for an out-licensing deal with a biotech or pharma company that can take them the remaining distance to a potential regulatory approval. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and several individual investors have now bumped its capital reserves as BioMotiv scouts for another $54 million to complete its fundraising effort.

"BioMotiv is a new business model for accelerating breakthrough discoveries into medicines, aligning capital and collaborations to develop a portfolio of therapeutics," said CEO Baiju R. Shah. "We license early-stage technologies and then develop them with the oversight of our experienced team and network of partners."   

Shah's been making the rounds at industry meetings in recent months, advocating for his accelerator R&D model. The big idea here has BioMotiv finding great new products in academia that have been overlooked by venture groups and developed internally, positioning them for an out-licensing pact. He told MedCity News recently that Big Pharma--which has been inking a long series of academic pacts in the past 2 years--isn't really interested in early-stage innovation while the VC model has largely been broken.

Shah's board includes David C. U'Prichard, who held senior R&D positions at Zeneca and SmithKline Beecham.   

If they are successful, BioMotiv could help put Cleveland on the biotech map. Ohio has not figured prominently in R&D circles. So far, though, little has been said about which new therapies are being eyed for BioMotiv's portfolio.

- here's the press release