Chris Garabedian. Perceptive

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.

Adam Stone Per­cep­tive

Click on the im­age to see the full-sized ver­sion

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.

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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So what hap­pened with No­var­tis' gene ther­a­py group? Here's your an­swer

Over the last couple of days it’s become clear that the gene therapy division at Novartis has quietly undergone a major reorganization. We learned on Monday that Dave Lennon, who had pursued a high-profile role as president of the unit with 1,500 people, had left the pharma giant to take over as CEO of a startup.

Like a lot of the majors, Novartis is an open highway for head hunters, or anyone looking to staff a startup. So that was news but not completely unexpected.

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Who are the women su­per­charg­ing bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for this year's spe­cial re­port

The biotech industry has faced repeated calls to diversify its workforce — and in the last year, those calls got a lot louder. Though women account for just under half of all biotech employees around the world, they occupy very few places in C-suites, and even fewer make it to the helm.

Some companies are listening, according to a recent BIO survey which showed that this year’s companies were 2.5 times more likely to have a diversity and inclusion program compared to last year’s sample. But we still have a long way to go. Women represent just 31% of biotech executives, BIO reported. And those numbers are even more stark for women of color.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Af­ter sell­ing to Genen­tech, the old Je­cure team is back at an RNA-fo­cused start­up — and more en­thu­si­as­tic than ever

When Genentech swooped in to buy NASH-focused Jecure Therapeutics back in 2018, a handful of the startup’s executives weren’t quite ready to disperse.

It had been just three years since Jecure launched with a preclinical portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors — and the takeover came sooner than anyone, including CEO Jeff Stafford, had expected. So he got talking with James Veal and Gretchen Bain, two serial entrepreneurs in charge of Jecure’s R&D.

Rafaèle Tordjman (Jeito Capital)

Con­ti­nu­ity and di­ver­si­ty: Rafaèle Tord­j­man's women-led VC firm tops out first fund at $630M

For a first-time fund, Jeito Capital talks a lot about continuity.

Rafaèle Tordjman had spotlighted that concept ever since she started building the firm in 2018, promising to go the extra mile(s) with biotech entrepreneurs while pushing them to reach patients faster.

Coincidentally, the lack of continuity was one of the sore spots listed in a report about the European healthcare sector published that same year by the European Investment Bank — whose fund is one of the LPs, alongside the American pension fund Teacher Retirement System of Texas and Singapore’s Temasek, to help Jeito close its first fund at $630 million (€534 million). As previously reported, Sanofi had chimed in €50 million, marking its first investment in a French life sciences fund.

When ef­fi­ca­cy is bor­der­line: FDA needs to get more con­sis­tent on close-call drug ap­provals, agency-fund­ed re­search finds

In the exceedingly rare instances in which clinical efficacy is the only barrier to a new drug’s approval, new FDA-funded research from FDA and Stanford found that the agency does not have a consistent standard for defining “substantial evidence” when flexible criteria are used for an approval.

The research comes as the FDA is at a crossroads with its expedited-review pathways. The accelerated approval pathway is under fire as the agency recently signed off on a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug, with little precedent to explain its decision. Meanwhile, top officials like Rick Pazdur have called for a major push to simplify and clarify all of the various expedited pathways, which have grown to be must-haves for sponsors of nearly every newly approved drug.

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Lat­est news: It’s a no on uni­ver­sal boost­ers; Pa­tient death stuns gene ther­a­py field; In­side Tril­li­um’s $2.3B turn­around; and more

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