Kleiner Perkins to back early-stage biotechs with $525M fund

Beth Seidenberg, Investment Partner--Source: KPCB

Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers has closed the books on a new $525 million fund. And a chunk of that treasure is earmarked for early-stage life science companies promising to satisfy Kleiner Perkins' trademark appetite for disruptive new technologies.

"Portfolio companies in KPCB 15 will benefit from the firm's holistic approach to company building that we pioneered more than a decade ago," said Ted Schlein, partner at KPCB, in a statement. "We will identify promising early-stage companies in our areas of focus and bring value-added resources in key areas to help early-stage companies grow and succeed. This includes applying our considerable industry, operational and financial expertise and network of relationships to help entrepreneurs build lasting enterprises."

Among the group of partners with a key to the cash box is Beth Seidenberg, the former chief medical officer at Amgen ($AMGN) who has been handling the fund's investments in Tesaro, Epizyme, iPierian and Auxogyn, among others. KPCB has also invested in Foundation Medicine and Celladon. 

Seidenberg's interest in biotech goes well beyond the boardroom. She's been one of the leading forces at the Medical Innovation and Competitiveness Coalition, which joined up with the National Venture Capital Association to apply pressure on the FDA to change. The lobbying effort has helped inspire new legislation aimed at speeding drug approvals while putting the FDA on the defensive about its regulatory track record.

"The major problem is the lack of predictability, which leads to delayed timelines," Seidenberg told The Wall Street Journal last fall. "Entrepreneurs are smart people, and they want to get their products to patients. And because of the lack of transparency, and the lack of consistency (at FDA), they are moving to Europe, setting up their organizations and creating jobs overseas." 

- here's the press release