Digitalis makes its debut with $100M fund and a yen for ‘deeply technical people’
A new fund has landed in the life sciences/healthcare field. Welcome Digitalis, which is looking for a new breed of company to back with its $100 million in investment cash.
“I wanted to build a firm with an orientation to health rather than disease,” says Geoffrey W. Smith, the founder and managing partner of Digitalis.
Smith isn’t interested in your average biotech play, hunting up an asset with real potential and pointing it to the clinic. He also wasn’t looking for any specific information tech project. Rather, he wants to find ambitious thinkers advancing engineered solutions to big problems, the way CRISPR, for example, has promised to revolutionize drug development.
Among a handful of initial deals, Digitalis has backed Second Genome, which has built a computational microbiome platform that has a broad reach, extending from humans to plants.
The biotech offers a good example of Digitalis’ target: “Deeply technical people thinking about important problems.” And they want the technology to address large populations, but on an individual basis.
$100 million isn’t a large amount for any venture group with such a wide horizon to scan. But Smith wants to get in early, offering anywhere from a few hundred thousand to a few million in seed or early-stage financing.
Digitalis is jumping into this game with offices in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.