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GEN News Highlights : May 17, 2013

VC Firm Partners with Amgen, Novartis to Form 15+ Biotech Startups

Atlas Venture is partnering with both Amgen—through the company’s VC fund, Amgen Ventures—and Novartis in an effort to fuel translational research-based, early-stage startup formation activities, the firm said.

“The intent of these relationships is to provide Amgen and Novartis with strategic proximity to Atlas Venture’s startup formation activities around innovative, potentially high-impact medicines, and catalyze future collaborations around translational research across Atlas Venture’s early-stage portfolio,” the company further explained in a statement. “Amgen and Novartis bring their deep knowledge in pharmaceutical R&D with Atlas Venture’s focus on creating and building new biomedical startups with experienced entrepreneurs.”

Atlas added that though this effort aims to bring venture and pharma interests together, the company maintains “full authority over funding strategy and investment decisions” it makes in the area. These agreements, in conjunction with the closing of Atlas IX in which Amgen Ventures and Novartis are new limited partners, are expected to create and/or fund more than 15 new biotech firms, the VC giant said.

In a statement, Amgen’s Sean Harper, M.D., evp of R&D, said that his firm “is very excited to partner with Atlas Venture, one of a small number of venture capital groups that truly focuses on creating value by translating groundbreaking science into new companies.” Added Novartis’ Mark Fishman, president of the firm’s Institutes for BioMedical Research: “We look forward to working with the Atlas team to build young startups that will hopefully one day lead to the development of new medicines for patients in need.”