Undeterred by a pandemic, Gilde Healthcare raises their largest fund yet
When Pieter van der Meer started raising the capital for Gilde Healthcare’s fifth fund in the waning months of 2019, he had his eyes on a different chain of events that could change the healthcare system and perhaps even play to his firm’s advantage: The US presidential election.
Since raising their third fund in 2011, the 34-year-old Dutch firm had focused on value-based care. They chose late-stage biotechs that came up with new devices and delivery systems for de-risked established compounds, and when they chose preclinical biotechs, they spoke with potential pharma partners, payers and regulators to ask where and at what prices the drug made sense. As the Democratic primary became a contest over how to lower healthcare costs, it looked like a strategy that could pay off.
“With the changing healthcare system in the US and the elections coming up,” van der Meer, Gilde’s general partner, told Endpoints News, “we feel that we have a strategy that could be sound and provides our company a competitive advantage going forward.”
Today, Gilde unveiled the fund: an oversubscribed, €416 million ($450 million) pot that more than doubles their previous record. The US presidential race, of course, has been essentially on hold for a month as Covid-19 swept the globe and America and Europe have gone on semi-lockdown, sputtering the world economy with unprecedented speed and causing delays in once-steady clinical trial timelines.
Gilde, though, says the pandemic’s main impact on them and their fund is that they’ve had to hold discussions and sign paperwork with investors remotely. In fact, van der Meer said, they had a set goal of €350 million and a hard cap of €400 million before deciding to lift for some long-sought investors.
The fund only closes this week, meaning those investors — which include a European buffet of Danish and Belgian growth funds, The Netherlands’ Royal Philips and Rabo Corporate Investments, and Germany’s Haniel and KfW Capital — could’ve backed out. Instead, he said, they told him their fund was more needed now than ever.
“The parties obviously had the opportunity to make up their minds until the last minute,” van der Meer said. “None of the parties tried to wait.”
Gilde focuses on an array of healthcare fields. Their previous biotech investments include AM-Pharma, which today announced a $176 million raise to bring their acute kidney injury treatment into a Phase III trial, and ProQR Therapeutics, which unveiled today positive Phase I/II data. They also invested in Inpharmatica — a bioinformatics company acquired by Galapagos – Breath Therapeutics, Evotec and Santaris.
Van de Meer said they are continuing to watch the US elections closely and will continue the approach that undergirded those investments, particularly the focus on value-based care. But they would also look into Covid-19 related opportunities as companies continue to advance therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and ways of monitoring patients remotely.
That’s already begun, he said, but it will continue long after the worst of the Covid-19 crisis is over.
“That is hopefully going to disappear and become less of an issue,” he said. “But there will be other viruses attacking the world population and all the platforms we are looking at have applications in that space.”