ALSA Ventures closes US$59m European biotech venture capital fund

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/BackyardProduction
© GettyImages/BackyardProduction

Related tags Venture funding Antibody Cancer Immune system

ALSA Ventures today announced first closing of its European biotechnology investment fund with commitments of US$59M.

Established in 2019 by Alek Safarian, founder and ex-CEO of clinical CRO Novotech, the ALSA team has already made three European biotech investments which it said will now become portfolio companies in ALSA Ventures. 

“Our London based team comes with it a great deal of industry experience, and we aim to leverage this where possible, by helping preclinical biotechs accelerate their R&D into the clinic,”​ said Safarian.  

The focus of the fund is novel therapeutics. It is targeting raising $150M in total and said that it has seen strong support from strategic investors. 

"We see tremendous opportunity across the European biotech space."

ALSA said it is targeting "genuine breakthrough potential from discovery stage to late preclinical development.”  

The firm’s chief investment officer, Dr Graeme Martin, was previously CEO of Takeda Ventures, Inc. based in Palo Alto.

Investments to date

To date, the ALSA team has invested in UK based companies, Epsilogen Ltd, and, Oxford Biotherapeutics (OBT), as well as the Belgian startup, Montis Biosciences.

ALSA Ventures along with Polaris Partners, and Pfizer Ventures, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc, were involved in the seed funding of Montis, which was founded by Droia Ventures, VIB and KU Leuven.

The Belgium-based biotech company is targeting perivascular macrophages, a subpopulation of macrophages that interact with the endothelial cells of the vasculature. The startup’s mission is to exploit these cellular interactions with therapeutics to drive and sustain immune reactions against solid tumors.

Episolgen has a diverse pipeline of anti-cancer IgE antibodies, targeting solid tumors, while Oxford Biotherapeutics’ approach, based on its proprietary immune-oncology and antibody-drug conjugate pipelines, is to re-engage and recruit the body's immune system to attack cancer cells. 

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