Startups, Venture Capital

Armed with a $435M bankroll, Polaris looks to the next wave of biotech startups

Dave Barrett

Polaris Partners is opening up chapter 8 in its big book of biotech investments.

Managing Partner Dave Barrett announced in a blog post Thursday that the venture group closed on Polaris VIII with $435 million in the bank, $35 million over its target.

That cash will be put to a variety of uses, running from drug development through technology and tech services. And they’ll continue to work with some high profile serial biotech execs and scientists, like Katrine Bosley at Editas and earlier at Avila, Tillman Gerngross at Adimab and GlycoFi, Bob Langer — behind a whole range of companies like Momenta — John Mendlein at Adnexus and Fate and Phillip Sharp at Alnylam and Sirtris.

Explains Barrett:

We invest throughout the company life cycle — from the earliest stages of company creation through profitability — working closely with our teams to reach their goals.

We invest in transformative technology, biological science and innovative business models where we have deep experience and success — as investors, board members, scientists, operators and entrepreneurs.

Amy Schulman, Polaris

And in life sciences, the focus is on “novel therapeutics, platform biotechnology, genomics, drug delivery, diagnostics and medical devices that meet the critical needs of patients worldwide.  Areas which change our lives.”

This is the latest in a long lineup of new funds to come along as institutional investors continue to demonstrate a real appetite for biotech-related groups like this. Polaris is one of the best connected VCs in the US, often playing a prominent role in new startups. Polaris partner Amy Schulman took the helm at Lyndra a few weeks ago after the VC led a $23 million Series A for a platform tech that boasts of an ability to provide “ultra” long acting sustained release of oral drugs. That platform came from Langer, Giovanni Traverso and Andrew Bellinger at MIT.


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