New Capital, Oncology

Taiho antes up an extra $250M for its venture arm as it gets serious about ‘global oncology’ deals

Japan’s Taiho Pharma has been scouting the globe for innovations to complement its oncology drug discovery pipeline — and it now appears ready to spend on them.

Taiho Ventures, the Menlo Park-based corporate VC arm of the Otsuka subsidiary, has reloaded its investment pool with $250 million on top of the $50 million initially invested in 2016, which has so far yielded a portfolio that features Arcus Biosciences, PACT Pharma, Harpoon Therapeutics, Storm Therapeutics, ORIC Pharmaceuticals and Quentis Therapeutics.

Masayuki Kobayashi

“Taiho Pharmaceutical aims to be a global oncology company,” said Masayuki Kobayashi, Taiho president. “In addition to its mainstay in-house drug discovery, Taiho Pharmaceutical will also continue to access groundbreaking innovation, primarily in the oncology field, through Taiho Ventures, in an effort to further strengthen its drug discovery capabilities.”

In July, Taiho announced it is going for an option to develop and commercialize an adenosine receptor antagonist program from Arcus in Japan and other parts of Asia excluding China, kicking off a licensing pact that’s potentially worth $130 million for the biotech.

Led by Terry Rosen and his ex-Flexus crew, Arcus was Taiho Ventures’ first investment.

Taiho’s move to boost its deals and dollars in oncology comes at a time of steadily rising investments in the biopharma sphere. Old funds are getting bigger while new ones are adding money to the overall pool of cash available for upstart drug developers.

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