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GEN News Highlights : Apr 23, 2013

Avalon Ventures to Fund up to 10 Life Science Startups in Collaboration with GSK

Avalon Ventures today announced that it intends to fund and launch up to 10 life science companies, working in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.

The bicoastal VC giant known for its investments in social gaming company Zynga among other tech and life science firms said it will be identifying promising early-stage technologies across a variety of therapeutic areas, which a joint management committee of Avalon and GSK will then approve. From there, Avalon and GSK will finance these new technologies — and newly-established companies — jointly.

"We are committed to finding creative ways to support academia and the early stage research that is vital to the success of our industry," said Moncef Slaoui, GSK R&D chairman, said in a statement. "This innovative collaboration with Avalon, which has established a robust track record in drug discovery, will benefit not only GSK but the life science industry as a whole and, ultimately, patients."

Avalon notes that while the technologies it funds may come from anywhere, the companies created through this collaboration will all be based in San Diego.

Jay Licther, Avalon’s managing director, stresses the importance of growing the area’s life science sector. “I believe that this partnership has the potential to drive the innovation ecosystem and economic growth in Southern California,” Lichter said.