UPDATED: Corey Goodman's venBio closes latest VC fund — this time to the tune of $550M — with a dozen or more investments on deck
Some of the highest-profile VCs on the West Coast have cobbled together another impressive fund, one that has them more than halfway to a billion dollars.
The San Francisco-based venBio has closed its fourth life sciences fund at about $550 million, the firm announced Thursday morning, led by managing partners Corey Goodman, Robert Adelman, Aaron Royston and Richard Gaster. venBio is looking to support between 12 to 15 companies with this fund, Goodman said in a statement, aiming to provide “stronger support for our portfolio companies in crossover rounds and at IPO.”
Thursday’s fund came in exceeding its initial target, Royston told Endpoints News, which gives venBio more flexibility to get deeply involved in their portfolio companies. That’s the biggest differentiating factor between venBio and other VC firms, he said.
“There’s a ton of capital out there, and so for management teams who just want capital, there’s a lot of options and probably a lot of cheap options,” Royston told Endpoints. “The reason that someone walk into venBio’s door to discuss a capital investment is we’re bringing something to the table besides money.”
Royston added that venBio’s track record of teambuilding, designing clinical trials and understanding different company’s endgames spurred the oversubscription. They’re focusing on a similar number of investments with this fourth raise, which comes in with about 40% more cash than its last life sciences fund.
The fund closing also came with a promotion for Gaster to the managing partner level.
VenBio is no stranger to funding prominent biotechs. Since its founding a decade ago, Goodman and his colleagues have helped steer companies like ALX Oncology to nine-figure fundraises and IPOs. The firm also led investment rounds in Aragon and Seragon, acquired by J&J and Roche, respectively.
Since December, ALX has been dealing with a partial clinical hold for two Phase II studies in advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Regulators allowed the trials to begin but instructed ALX to cap total enrollment at 50 patients, and can increase the cap once a non-clinical safety study has been completed. That study is currently underway.
Overall, venBio says it’s led 34 total investment rounds and raised nearly $1.5 billion over the 10-year span. Four of its portfolio companies have pushed drugs past the FDA finish line, Adelman said in a statement, with another seven experimental drugs showing “promising” efficacy in late-stage trials.
Goodman himself has been busy in the last year or so, and not just with ALX. Last December, he launched Tallac Therapeutics with ALX’s now-former CSO Hong Wan in order to give a separate cancer-fighting idea its own attention. Had the program stayed with ALX, the biotech likely would have become too crowded, Goodman told Endpoints at the time.
Tallac, which got started with a $62M Series A, is aiming to develop conjugates of antibodies and toll-like receptor agonists in the hopes of generating innate and adaptive immune responses in solid tumors. Their lead program is in IND-enabling studies, and they’ve also partnered with ALX on another candidate still in the preclinical stage.
Other companies venBio has funded include Labrys Biologics, Aurinia, Apellis, Turning Point Therapeutics, Precision Biosciences, Akero, Harmony Biosciences and Pharvaris.