Arie Belldegrun didn’t just co-found a new biotech with $300 million in financing. He also is taking the wraps off a new venture fund with $295 million to invest in what he and his partners hope will be the next-gen biotech companies to watch.
The new fund is called Vida Ventures, based in Boston, and one of its first investments went to Belldegrun’s latest CAR-T creation, Allogene. Homology Medicines, Praxis Precision Medicines and Pionyr Immunotherapeutics are also in the portfolio after getting started last year.
“We seek to translate breakthrough innovation into novel medicines,” said Fred Cohen, a Vida co-founder and general partner.
The group of principals in the new venture includes Arjun Goyal, an ex-5AM exec, along with ex-Third Rock player Stefan Vitorovic and Leonard Potter.
They’re taking their place alongside a group of busy VCs that are in the midst of an historic wave of biotech investing, with mega rounds for Series A companies and ample follow-up funding for any drug developers that look like they have potential. Record levels of venture funding have helped create booming hubs in Boston/Cambridge and the Bay Area, with new Chinese investors jumping into the game.
Just how long that can last, with a wide open IPO window to help facilitate additional fundraising, is unknown. These things always run in cycles. But right now the field remains red hot.
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