RiverVest off to the races with $275M to invest in early-stage biotech
RiverVest Venture Partners has closed its largest fund yet, with $275 million to inject into early-stage drug and medical device developers.
The fifth fund — closed just over two years after the fourth — brings RiverVest’s total assets under management to more than $1.6 billion, the firm said on Wednesday.
“Fund V’s larger size will enable RiverVest to participate more fully in later equity rounds of portfolio companies which have the greatest potential,” co-founder and managing director Jay Schmelter said in a statement.
Schmelter’s focus is on the medical device space, while John McKearn, Niall O’Donnell and Nancy Hong are focused on the biopharma portfolio.
RiverVest closed its fourth fund in December 2018 with a total of $184.4 million raised. In its roughly 20-year history, the firm has invested in a total of 55 companies, 18 of which have been sold and eight of which have gone public — most recently Spruce Biosciences, which priced a $103.5 million IPO in October at $15 per share.
Back in 2018, Schmelter told Endpoints News the firm’s strategy is to focus on companies that truly fill a gap, “while attracting a buyer or being ready for an IPO within three to five years of the initial investment.”
The company tracks at least 27 commercial products developed by companies it has invested in, including the hyperkalemia drug Lokelma, which was developed by ZS Pharma before AstraZeneca snagged it in a $2.7 billion buyout. The drug, approved in 2018, raked in $21 million in Q3 2020.
“With RiverVest Venture Fund V, we will continue our investment strategy grounded in close collaboration with entrepreneurs and academic investigators to develop products for the most pressing challenges patients face today,” Schmelter said in a statement.