Perceptive teams up with Chris Garabedian to open up a new, $210M biotech fund focused on A rounds
Perceptive Advisors is one of those prolific biotech investor groups which has traditionally enjoyed zeroing in on clinical-stage investments and crossover rounds, a group that prefers more established drug development players with near-term payoff potential.
But now they’re partnering with Xontogeny chief and longtime biotech entrepreneur Chris Garabedian on a $210 million fund — with money contributed by institutional investors and family funds — to go into the launch space with their first early-stage VC fund. Dubbed the Perceptive Xontogeny Venture Fund, LP, or just PXV Fund, they plan to favor upstarts that Garabedian is fostering in his incubator. But they’ll also plan to reach outside that inner circle for more A rounds to back, with plans to dominate initial funding with $10 million to $20 million per newborn biotech.
And they have a new startup to unveil today in the coming out party. It’s called Quellis Biosciences, comes out of Viridian and gets $17 million in PXV money to advance undisclosed antibodies for undisclosed targets. body tech,The biotech has a license to use Xencor’s antibody tech, designed to extend their half life to reduce dosing.
You can expect a lot of the early money in to stay fairly well hidden. As Garabedian notes in an interview, they aren’t all going to make it. So they’ll wait to be more forthcoming about some of these startups as they grow more assured of their potential.
PXV has already identified about half of the 8 to 10 companies they plan to back out of fund 1. “I think this will go pretty quickly,’ says Garabedian, who expects the full $210 million to be committed by late 2020 or early 2021. And once they’re done, they plan to ramp up fund 2.
Xontogeny has preferred a “more lean drug development approach,” says Garabedian, avoiding the big plays and centering on specific assets. And that suits Perceptive just fine.
Perceptive has largely stayed out of startups in the past because “we don’t have people who have that experience,” says Adam Stone, Perceptive’s chief investment officer. But they do have a longstanding relationship with Garabedian, best known for his stint at the helm of Sarepta, who fills that hands-on role along with his team at Xontogeny.
Sticking with an asset-centric approach gives the new fund options; M&A deals and partnering have been hot now for several years for companies getting to clinical proof of concept. IPOs have been running steady as well. And if any of those windows close for a while, the partners expect to be able to push through to when things pick back up again.