UPMC venture arm earmarks $1B investment in life sciences
UPMC Enterprises, which most recently backed Werewolf Therapeutics, is now setting aside $1 billion to develop new drugs, devices and diagnostics.
Initially focused on immunotherapies for cancer, transplantation and aging, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) venture capital arm has expanded its focus to include retinal and respiratory disease, autoimmune diseases and neuroinflammation among others.
“Our scientists at Pitt — along with others globally who will enrich their efforts — are seeing the results of their research moved out of the lab and into the commercial realm at a speed and cost that previously wasn’t possible in the academic environment,” said Steven Shapiro, chief medical and scientific officer at UPMC.
The investment group has been in the business of forming five companies in the past two years, including BlueSphere Bio and Generian, and has also invested in 30 internal research projects. In 2018, UPMC allied with the University of Pittsburgh injecting $200 million in a partnership focused on immunotherapy.
Beginning as a single psychiatric hospital, UPMC has grown into a $19 billion health enterprise. It has invested more than $800 million in its entrepreneurial efforts so far — primarily in digital solutions — and has reaped returns of more than $1.5 billion, the research university said.
“The common link among our investments will be that each has a direct and powerful impact on how we care for patients, while generating a significant financial return,” said UPMC Enterprises executive VP Jeanne Cunicelli in a statement.