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Jun 17, 2013

Top 20 Corporate Venture Funds

Working for a startup or an adventurous biotech or biopharma firm with a lot of great ideas? Meet your new best friends.

Top 20 Corporate Venture Funds

That “cha-ching” you hear? That’s the sound of one of these firms making an investment. [© romantiche - Fotolia.com]

  • #5. (tie) Novartis Option Fund

    Resources: Initial fund of $200 million toward seed innovative startup companies during their earliest stages

    Current portfolio: Nine companies

    Amount of investment: $20 million to $25 million over the life of a company. The initial equity investment can be coupled with an option to a specific therapeutic program giving early validation for the startup company’s technology

    Investment preferences: Early-stage, high-risk areas enabling the development of novel programs and technologies

    Year established: 2007

  • #5. (tie) Lilly Ventures

    Resources: $200 million under management

    Current portfolio: 15 companies

    Amount of investment: $5 million to $15 million per company

    Investment preferences: Biotech companies that leverage proprietary drug discovery or development technologies to build a multi-product pipeline; companies focused on the convergence of devices with pharmaceuticals or diagnostics; North American and European regions

    Year established: 2001

  • #5. (tie) Baxter Ventures

    Resources: $200 million

    Current portfolio: Seven investments, most being direct investment in companies, with the rest being investments in life sciences venture funds

    Amount of investment: A typical equity investment is $1 million to $5 million initial investment, with a potential of investing up to $10 million over the life of the company

    Investment preferences: Companies with innovative technologies, products, and therapies with the potential to improve patient care globally and maximize value for investors and entrepreneurs; Focus areas include therapeutic areas complementary to those of Baxter's existing Medical Products and BioScience businesses, as well as cutting-edge technologies and therapies outside of Baxter’s current product portfolio that have sustainable long-term growth potential.

    Year established: 2011

  • #5. (tie) Amgen Ventures

    Resources: $200 million in two funds: Amgen Ventures I, a $100 million fund founded 2004; and Amgen Ventures II, a $100 million fund founded 2012

    Current portfolio: 13 companies—12 in Amgen Ventures I; one in Amgen Ventures II

    Amount of investment: Typically $3 million to 5 million per company per round, and may invest up to $15 million over the life of the company.

    Investment preferences: Early-stage to early clinical companies developing human therapeutics. While the fund’s focus is primarily in areas of current therapeutic interest to Amgen—which include oncology, inflammation, hematology/nephrology, metabolic disorders, neuroscience and cardiovascular—the fund also seeks novel modalities with potential to address targets in both current and emerging therapeutic areas of interest. We will also review companies developing drug delivery and monitoring devices. Currently seeking investments in North America, Europe, and the U.K.

    Year established: 2004

  • #4. Merck Research Ventures Fund (Merck & Co.)6

    Resources: $250 million evergreen fund. First phase was to establish a network of fund-to-fund investments. Majority of activity going forward will be direct minority equity investments in biotech companies, including formation of new startups

    Current portfolio: No direct investments in companies; limited partner investments in five venture capital funds as of April 2013, including an undisclosed sum in the $270 million fourth fund of Flagship Ventures, and the establishment, with Lumira Capital, of the Merck-Lumira Bioscience Fund in Canada

    Amount of investment: Flexible, but target $3 million to $7 million during first round, with follow-on investment up to 5–15% ownership

    Investment preferences: New ventures that apply scientific breakthroughs to the development of new drugs (small molecules, biologics, vaccines) in areas of unmet medical need

    Year established: 2011

  • #3. MedImmune Ventures (AstraZeneca)

    Resources: $400 million under management in an evergreen fund

    Current portfolio: 15 companies

    Amount of investment: $15 million to $25 million over the life of an investment

    Investment preferences: Private companies that develop small and large molecules, vaccines, pharmaceutical technologies and platforms, with early to late stage products and technologies, in early (e.g. seed) to late (e.g. mezzanine) rounds of financing. Geographic scope includes North America, Western Europe, Israel and Australia. The fund also seek investments in medical device, diagnostic, imaging and healthcare IT companies pertaining to the discovery, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products. Therapeutic scope includes cardiology, gastroenterology, neuroscience, oncology, pulmonology, infectious disease, inflammation and metabolism

    Year established: 2002

  • #2. Roche Venture Fund

    Resources: Evergreen fund of CHF 500 million ($534.2 million), of which about 40% is currently invested3

    Current portfolio: About 30 companies in 10 countries across Europe, North America and the Pacific region

    Amount of investment: Initial investment of CHF 1 million (about $1.1 million) to CHF 5 million ($5.3 million)3

    Investment preferences: Companies with innovative new technologies, medicines or diagnostics, in areas of interest, including oncology, central nervous system; inflammation; metabolic diseases; virology; in vitro diagnostics; diabetes care; molecular diagnostics; and innovative research technologies. Also, Series B companies, though the Fund has invested earlier with a syndicate. For therapeutic biotechs, Fund is “willing to invest in companies that are still 18–24 months away from the clinic.”7

    Year established: 2002

  • #1. Novartis Venture Fund

    Resources: More than $600 million under management via evergreen fund re-investing returns generated

    Current portfolio: Approximately 60 companies

    Amount of investment: Up to $30 million per company over its life; minimum can be as little as $100,000

    Investment preferences: Novel therapeutics and platforms for human and animal health; diagnostics or drug delivery systems. “We look for unmet need and clinical impact, novel proprietary science and understanding of mechanism, management, and board experience and capital efficiency in the program.”8

    Year established: 1996

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following funds did not make the cut simply because we weren't able to ascertain how big they are. Still, don't write off these guys as skinflints:

  • AbbVie Biotech Ventures Inc. (ABVI; formerly Abbott Biotech Ventures)

    Resources: Size of current fund unavailable2

    Current portfolio: Number of companies unavailable2

    Amount of investment: Ranges from several hundred thousand dollars up to several million, depending on the opportunity and development stage. ABVI says it will always remain a minority investor.

    Investment preferences: Companies with programs ranging from preclinical to early proof-of-concept are of highest interest. ABVI invests in technologies that are strategic to AbbVie such as neuroscience, immunology, virology, and oncology, as well as emerging or more opportunistic areas of innovation that have the potential to complement AbbVie’s existing portfolio or to expand AbbVie’s future business reach.

    Year established: 2013

  • Astellas Venture Management (AVM)

    Resources: Combined size of funds unavailable9

    Current portfolio: 19 companies—14 funded via Astellas Venture Fund I, managed since 2005; three via Astellas Venture Capital since 2000; and two via Fujisawa Investments for Entrepreneurship (FITE) funds I and II, managed since 1999 and 2001, respectively

    Amount of investment: Figure or range unavailable

    Investment preferences: Privately owned biotechnology companies focused on discovering and developing human therapeutics. AVM seeks companies with potential to become Astellas Pharma’s collaboration partners in R&D, in disease fields aligned with Astellas’ priority therapeutic categories of diabetes complications and other metabolic diseases, immunology and infectious diseases, neuroscience, oncology, and urology

    Year established: 1999

  • Johnson & Johnson Development Corp. (JJDC)

    Resources: Size of fund undisclosed

    Current portfolio: Undisclosed number of companies10

    Amount of investment: Undisclosed10

    Investment preferences: Pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies “that create synergistic solutions in” treating and curing chronic and life-threatening diseases, with clinically validated solutions across pharmaceuticals, regenerative medicine, gene therapies, and tissue and organ engineering. Also, medical device and diagnostic “solutions that have significant addressable markets” through early detection, prevention, and remediation of disease and are supported with validated data and research.11

    Year established: 1973

  • Novo Growth Equity (Novo A/S)

    Resources: Current figure not disclosed12

    Current portfolio: Five companies

    Amount of investment: Depends on company; amount can total “several” billion DKK per company13

    Investment preferences: Late-stage funding for well-established life science companies with positive cash flow, strongly positioned products and attractive prospects.

    Year established: 2009


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