Dollars: $62.5 million
Based: Radford, VA; San Francisco; Palm Beach, FL
Success in the venture community depends a lot on the trust and loyalty of key investors. And Third Security can rely on the deep pockets of billionaire RJ Kirk, who has been bankrolling the operation and serves as CEO.
Kirk, you may recall, cashed in his chips on two big biotech scores: New River and Clinical Data. Kirk's keen interest in retaining equity in his companies allowed him to build his personal fortune to more than $2 billion, according to Forbes.
With three deals last year, it's obvious that Third Security doesn't do a lot of investments. But it has the capacity to do big things--particularly when they line up with Kirk's business plans.
The biggest of the deals involved the $100 million investment that Kirk and Third Security--along with unnamed investors--tied up to finance his latest brainchild, Intrexon. The synthetic biology company has been gradually lining up a slate of development partnerships with Kirk's hand-picked biotechs. And he has high hopes of seeing Intrexon go on to be the biggest and most profitable of all his start-ups.
Sticking with the Intrexon theme, one of the biotech pioneer's funds at Third Security spearheaded a $45 million investment in Fibrocell Science ($FCSC) last fall while simultaneously executing a technology pact that provided Fibrocell with access to Intrexon's growing suite of skills involving cellular function. Fibrocell handed over $3.3 million in stock as an upfront payment for the deal, which is intended to team the two companies on next-gen therapeutic fibroblasts and dermal cells. Intrexon will gain royalties from any products that come out of the pact, while Third Security landed two board seats with the deal.
The venture group also recently orchestrated an $8.3 million round for TransGenomic ($TBIO), which is looking to accelerate commercialization of genetic tests.
Transgenomic Closes on $8.3M
Billionaire Kirk orchestrates $45M cell therapy tie-up in biotech deal spree
-- John Carroll (email | Twitter)