What will Lumira Ventures do with $220M? Stay out of the comfort zone and off the beaten biotech path
Lumira Ventures closed its largest fund on Monday, raking in $220 million to pump into the life sciences — but instead of targeting biotech hubs like San Francisco and Boston, the company is rolling the dice on “underserved geographies” in the US and Canada.
“We find oftentimes companies located in places like Montreal, or Fort Lauderdale, FL, or Kansas City or Phoenix, AZ just have more capital efficiency and better valuations, without having to compromise anything at all in the quality of the innovation and the management talent,” co-founder and managing partner Gerry Brunk told Endpoints News.
The latest fund — dubbed Lumira Ventures IV — is 55% larger than the company’s last raise and will allow the team to bring on 15 to 20 new portfolio companies, Brunk said. Lumira has 30 companies in its current portfolio, including gene therapy player XyloCor Therapeutics (which recently raised a $22.6 million Series A extension), and radiopharmaceuticals-focused Fusion Pharmaceuticals (which last month entered a lease agreement with Hamilton, Ontario-based McMaster University for a 27,000-square-foot manufacturing facility).
“We’re really balanced by stage,” Brunk said. “We will invest in company creation activities and seed stage investing, all the way through growth equity, private transactions as well as PIPE investments in public companies.”
In more than two decades, the firm has invested over $1 billion in 100-plus companies, according to the website. And it isn’t afraid to go bold. Back in 2018, the team helped launch Medexus Pharmaceuticals, which was created by merging one public and two private companies: Pediapharm, Medexus, and Medac Pharma, respectively.
“We’re a little unique relative to some venture firms in that we’ve got a comfort level doing very creative special situation types of opportunities,” Brunk said.
While this marks Lumira’s fourth flagship fund, the team has also managed several special purpose funds, including a new $35 million strategic fund in partnership with an pharma company, which will be announced later this week. With roots in Canada, the firm says its mission is to “skate where the puck is going to be,” targeting companies addressing unmet needs in cost-efficient ways.
Investors in Lumira Ventures IV include Kensington Capital Partners, Fonds de Solidarité FTQ, Northleaf Capital Partners, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Business Development Bank of Canada, Teralys Capital, the Ontario Capital Growth Corporation, Royal Bank of Canada, Investissement Québec, Fondaction, Alexandria Venture Investments, Angelini Pharma, China Grand Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Holdings, Vancity, and Amana Global Partners.
“We’ve seen a number of our peers successfully raise new funds over the past year,” Brunk said. “Unfortunately, it took a global health care crisis to elevate the value of the industry, I think, to a lot of folks. But we feel very privileged to have the new capital to back that next set of entrepreneurs.”