Ven­ture Cap­i­tal as a Strate­gic Part­ner: Fu­el­ing In­no­va­tion be­yond Fi­nance

The av­er­age lev­el of in­vest­ment re­quired for a biotech start-up to suc­ceed is in­creas­ing every year, el­e­vat­ing the pres­sure even fur­ther on ven­ture cap­i­tal to make smart fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments. Fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment alone, how­ev­er, does not al­ways guar­an­tee that ex­cit­ing in­no­va­tions can be trans­formed in­to re­al busi­ness­es that make a mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ence to pa­tients.

Be­yond just cap­i­tal

At Astel­las Ven­ture Man­age­ment (AVM) – a whol­ly-owned ven­ture cap­i­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion with­in Astel­las, head­quar­tered in the San Fran­cis­co Bay Area – cap­i­tal is just one of the in­gre­di­ents we of­fer to add val­ue to our biotech­nol­o­gy in­vest­ments and part­ner­ships. We gen­er­al­ly take a strate­gic in­vestor ap­proach for com­pa­nies in our in­vest­ed port­fo­lio, pro­vid­ing ac­cess to ex­per­tise, tech­nol­o­gy and/or re­sources in ad­di­tion to the in­jec­tion of fi­nance. An eq­ui­ty in­vest­ment from AVM can in­clude ac­cess to Astel­las’ re­search and de­vel­op­ment (R&D) ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ex­per­tise, and a glob­al net­work of part­ner aca­d­e­m­ic in­sti­tu­tions and biotech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies, to help ad­vance and ac­cel­er­ate the start-up’s in­no­va­tion.

Am­pli­fy­ing ex­per­tise and re­sources

By strate­gi­cal­ly in­vest­ing in pri­vate, ear­ly-stage com­pa­nies that com­ple­ment our ex­ist­ing Pri­ma­ry Fo­cus R&D ar­eas, we can of­fer part­ners ac­cess to peo­ple and re­sources that can help ac­cel­er­ate their re­search, while at the same time, we can gain ear­ly ac­cess to emerg­ing bi­olo­gies and break­through tech­nol­o­gy plat­forms that could en­hance Astel­las’ re­search strat­e­gy and pipeline. It is this two-way part­ner­ship which el­e­vates ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists from the role of fi­nan­cial in­vestor to strate­gic part­ner.

Strate­gic in­vestors with sci­en­tif­ic back­grounds

For a strate­gic in­vestor mod­el to work, it is im­por­tant that end goals are aligned and there is an un­der­stand­ing of each oth­er’s roles and skillsets. At AVM, we have built our ven­ture cap­i­tal teams with sci­en­tists with first-hand drug dis­cov­ery re­search and de­vel­op­ment ex­pe­ri­ence. This unique set-up brings a new di­men­sion to the re­la­tion­ships we build with our in­vest­ed port­fo­lio of com­pa­nies – we speak their lan­guage and un­der­stand the sci­ence.

When we in­vest, part­ners know they are work­ing with peers who are just as dri­ven by in­no­v­a­tive sci­ence as they are. We like to think that this gives AVM a unique com­bi­na­tion of ex­per­tise and prag­ma­tism in the board­room, with a ‘can do’ at­ti­tude and ap­proach to sup­port­ing re­search in the lab­o­ra­to­ry.

Uti­liz­ing in­cu­ba­tors to ac­cess and nur­ture fu­ture in­no­va­tion

As part of our strate­gic in­vestor ap­proach, we are al­so in­vest­ing in world-lead­ing life sci­ence in­cu­ba­tors, such as those run by our part­ners MBC Bi­o­Labs in San Fran­cis­co and Lab­Cen­tral in Boston, to pro­vide us with a rich open-in­no­va­tion net­work to iden­ti­fy and progress in­no­va­tion from the ear­li­est stages of dis­cov­ery and re­search, fos­ter pro­duc­tive col­lab­o­ra­tions, and en­rich Astel­las’ fu­ture R&D pipeline with cut­ting-edge ex­ter­nal in­no­va­tion. While for the en­tre­pre­neurs and aca­d­e­mics work­ing at the in­cu­ba­tors, it gives them ac­cess to state-of-the-art lab fa­cil­i­ties, low­er­ing their op­er­a­tional costs, and the ben­e­fits of men­tor­ship, ex­pe­ri­ence and re­sources usu­al­ly on­ly avail­able to larg­er com­pa­nies.

Strate­gic ven­ture cap­i­tal that adds val­ue to biotechs

When in­vest­ed strate­gi­cal­ly, ven­ture cap­i­tal has the pow­er to trans­form ex­cit­ing in­no­va­tions in­to re­al busi­ness­es that make a mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ence to pa­tients and the health­care pro­fes­sion­als who treat them. While the cre­ative spark is pro­vid­ed by the start-up, a fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment and in­jec­tion of re­source from a strate­gic in­vest­ment part­ner is of­ten what helps set it ablaze and al­lows it to reach its po­ten­tial.

As the world of ven­ture cap­i­tal con­tin­ues to evolve, at AVM we are con­tin­u­ing to cham­pi­on a mu­tu­al­ly-ben­e­fi­cial, col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ship mod­el that al­lows fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments to fu­el in­no­va­tion and ul­ti­mate­ly, de­liv­er mean­ing­ful in­no­va­tions that change peo­ple’s lives.

We al­ways want to hear from pri­vate com­pa­nies with ex­cit­ing sci­en­tif­ic in­no­va­tions that have the po­ten­tial to make a gen­uine dif­fer­ence. To learn more about how we can help you ac­cel­er­ate sci­en­tif­ic in­no­va­tion in­to val­ue for pa­tients, please vis­it: www.astel­