People, Venture Capital

High profile biotech investor Beth Seidenberg is exiting Kleiner Perkins and starting her own fund — report

Beth Seidenberg is jumping out of her high profile role as a general partner at Kleiner Perkins to start her own life sciences fund.

Recode reported that Seidenberg, one of the highest profile execs in the life sciences VC community, has begun raising money for the new fund, which will focus on biotech and health. Fundraising puts her in a quiet period, unable to discuss plans.

“I can’t,” Seidenberg told me when I reached her this morning and asked for some enlightenment. She cited SEC rules requiring her to stay mum about any plans for now.

Kleiner Perkins told Recode that Seidenberg remains a GP for existing funds, but its sources say that she won’t participate in any new funds, leaving her to see out her investments in biotechs like Tmunity, where Seidenberg has come in to expand the A round recently to $135 million.

Seidenberg is an influential figure in the VC community. She’s one of the most sought after investors in Silicon Valley’s exclusive biotech community and had offered Kleiner Perkins some badly needed gender diversity in its top ranks.

The last time we talked a few weeks ago, Seidenberg noted that she has preferred a more conservative approach to biotech investing, going for smaller, more traditional venture raises for startups in an age of mega-rounds, when $100 million-plus rounds are getting common. But she’ll make an exception for the right company, like Penn spinout Tmunity, as it builds out its own manufacturing ops.

Seidenberg also loves cutting-edge cell therapy tech. She invested in Cell Design Labs, a company that was advancing a next-gen approach to CAR-T under UCSF scientist Wendell Lim, which Gilead snapped up a few months ago in a deal worth up to $567 million in the wake of its $12 billion Kite buyout. 

Jumping out right now could be perfect timing for the venture player. Bill Maris — who founded Google Ventures, now GV — is out raising more cash for his new fund after raising $165 million for the first one. Investors have been piling into the field after years of record-setting investing, as IPOs continue to fuel exits for VCs.


Image: Beth Seidenberg. Kleiner Perkins


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