Bioluminescence Ventures to invest $477 million in biotech startups

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Investment Biotech companies Finance biomedical Research Clinical development

The US investment firm Bioluminescence Ventures (BLV) has emerged from stealth with $477 million to finance biotech companies developing first-in-class or best-in-class disease treatments.

The total cash is spread across two funds called Bioluminescence Ventures Fund I and Bioluminescence Ventures Fund II. BLV’s backers include limited partners from the U.S. and abroad.

The firm is using the funding to gather a venture team specialized in fields including biomedical research and engineering, clinical development, and M&A and IPO advisory. Information about the advisory and venture team is pending in the coming weeks.

BLV focuses its investments on companies with biological or technological platforms targeting diseases with large patient populations and that are lacking effective treatments. Target companies will also have strong data backing up their offerings.

BLV’s name is a metaphor for the firm’s guiding light being patient impact. The company sees itself supporting life sciences firms during both a golden age of biomedical innovation and the most difficult financing environment in a decade.

“Innovation never stops, even when financing does. The recent Covid-19 global pandemic proved that the pace of biopharmaceutical innovation is rapidly accelerating,” said Kouki Harasaki, founding and managing partner of Bioluminescence Ventures, in a public statement​.

“The 2007-2008 global financial crisis and the subsequent years of biopharma sector downturn proved that venture firms that continue to invest in breakthrough platforms – especially during financial downturns – can help make a meaningful impact on patients while generating strong financial returns.”

BLV prefers to lead funding rounds and has recently invested in companies including the genomic medicines firms Ensoma and ReCode Therapeutics, the central nervous system specialist Nido Biosciences, and immunotherapy developer Surge Therapeutics.

In the last few weeks, the established life sciences-focused VC firm OrbiMed also raised fresh funding, bagging more than $4.3 billion in commitments for its funds.

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