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The Top Five Venture Capital Heavyweights in Life Sciences

Despite strong financial headwinds, venture capital (VC) firms continue to provide biotech startups with the critical cash they need to develop and scale…



Despite strong financial headwinds, venture capital (VC) firms continue to provide biotech startups with the critical cash they need to develop and scale their technology. Check out five of the most established VCs betting on life sciences companies.

Biotech startups promise potentially groundbreaking solutions to major illnesses such as cancer, COVID-19, heart disease, and rare genetic diseases. However, investing in biotech startups is highly risky and even successful companies require extensive cash inflow to develop therapies and take them to the market—a process that can take more than a decade and cost several billion dollars.

One of the prime sources of capital for biotech startups is VC investors. These funders first emerged in the mid-20th century and focus on targets with high risk and potential for growth, such as those in the tech, deeptech, and biotech sectors. VC investors often exit on their investments, ideally at a profit, once a startup is bought out by a larger company and/or following an initial public offering (IPO).

Following a surge in funding for the biotech industry during the pandemic, a period of valuation “reset” hit public and private biotech markets, according to a report by HSBC Innovation Banking. Although VC firms raised large funds over 2021 and 2022, they are yet to return to previous levels of early-stage investments, the report stated.

VCs around the world are actively investing in biotech startups, but few can rival the size and activity of VCs in the U.S., which houses thriving biotech hubs like Boston and the Biotech Bay Hotbed. Here are five of the most prominent VC firms based on assets under management, investment activity, and successful portfolio companies.


1. Arch Venture Partners
Founded: 1986
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Arch was created to commercialize technology originating from the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory. This origin is reflected in its name, which is derived from the letters “AR” from Argonne and “CH” from Chicago. The firm adopted its independent VC formatin 1992.

With roughly $9 billion under management as of 2022, Arch focuses on early-stage technology and biotech investments. The investor prefers to fund companies that it co-founds with academic and entrepreneurial experts.

The firm has backed big names such as cell therapy specialist Juno Therapeutics, which is now owned by Bristol Myers Squibb, Neumora Therapeutics, which raised $250 million in an IPO this year, and the DNA sequencing giant Illumina. Illumina recently clashed with regulators when it acquired its former spinoff: the cancer blood test player Grail, which was also part of Arch’s portfolio.

Arch topped up its coffers with $2.98 billion in 2022 when the firm closed its most recent fund, the ARCH Venture Fund XII. Since then, the investor has led rounds including a $60 million Series A closed by small molecule company Gate Bioscience, a $30 million Series A bagged by RNA editing specialist AIRNA, and a $50 million round raised by the molecular glue player Magnet Biomedicine.


2. Flagship Pioneering
Founded: 1999
Headquarters: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Flagship Pioneering Logo

Flagship Pioneering was set up as a venture creator with the name NewcoGen, standing for New Company Generation. In 2002, its name changed to Flagship Ventures as the company expanded its horizons to include broader VC activities in addition to internal venture building.

Flagship Pioneering, as it is known today, raised $3.4 billion in 2021 as it expanded its Fund VII, which focuses on companies in healthcare and sustainability. The fundraising rose Flagship’s assets under management to $14.1 billion.

One of Flagship’s greatest claims to fame is setting up the famed mRNA developer Moderna, which made headlines with a $604 million IPO in 2018, one of the biggest of its kind in biotech. During the pandemic, Moderna commercialized a vaccine to protect against COVID-19 far faster than traditional development programs.

Many others in Flagship Pioneering’s portfolio have completed IPOs. A standout example is a $675 million offering by the cell and gene therapy player Sana Biotechnology in 2021. Other portfolio companies have also been acquired, like Acceleron Pharma, which was taken over by Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada) for $11.5 billion in 2021, and Sigilon Therapeutics, which was snapped up by Eli Lilly and Company for a reported $309.6 million this year.

Pfizer tapped into Flagship Pioneering’s startup network earlier this year by co-financing a $100 million program to develop ten assets. According to the deal terms, Pfizer will have an option to acquire the development programs while Flagship Pioneering and its companies will receive up to $700 million in milestone and royalty payments for successful programs.

Flagship Pioneering’s most recent investments are a $140 million Series B round closed by cancer screening firm Harbinger Health and a $273 million Series C round bagged by antibody drug developer Generate Biomedicines.


3. OrbiMed
Founded: 1989
Headquarters: New York City, New York

OrbiMed originated as a money-management and research firm in 1989 and invests in sectors like biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, and healthcare services.

The company invests following strategies like private equity, public equity, and private credit. It made its first VC investment in 1993 and launched its first dedicated VC fund in 2000.

Today, OrbiMed is one of the biggest healthcare-focused investment firms in the world, with more than $17 billion in assets under management. Last month, the company added $4.3 billion to the bank to set up funds like the OrbiMed Private Investments IX, OrbiMed Asia Partners V, and OrbiMed Royalty & Credit Opportunities IV.

Some of OrbiMed’s most noteworthy portfolio companies are liquid biopsy developer Guardant Health, which raised $273.1 million in an IPO in 2018, and the cell-free DNA testing company Natera, which took home $180 million in an IPO in 2015.

Many of OrbiMed’s investments have netted M&A exits, like the $4.1 billion acquisition of precision oncology player Turning Point Therapeutics by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2022 and this year’s takeover of Decibel Therapeutics by Regeneron. Decibel was valued at up to $213 million, provided development milestones of its hearing loss gene therapy are reached following the takeover.

As OrbiMed expanded this year, it opened new headquarters in London, U.K. The company has also invested in financing rounds, with a $175 million Series B closed by small molecule developer Terremoto Biosciences and a $92 million Series A round raised by precision medicine player Triveni Bio.


4. RA Capital Management
Founded:  2002
Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts

RA Capital Management’s name stems from the initials of Richard Aldrich, who left Vertex Pharmaceuticals to co-found the VC investment firm.

With almost $10 billion in assets under management, RA Capital focuses on founding and investing in companies developing drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, services, and research tools. Investments range from seed funding to IPO and follow-on financings. The firm maps target markets and identifies breakthrough opportunities using a proprietary tool called TechAtlas.

One of RA Capital’s portfolio successes is the Flagship Pioneering-founded Moderna. Another is the commercial-stage gene therapy company Orchard Therapeutics, which raised $225 million in a Nasdaq IPO in 2018 and was acquired earlier this year for around $477.6 million by Japanese firm Kyowa Kirin.

Other M&A deals of RA Capital-backed firms are the takeover of blood disorders specialist Forma Therapeutics by Novo Nordisk for $1.1 billion in 2022, and Eli Lilly’s acquisition of gene therapy company Prevail Therapeutics for approximately $1 billion in 2020.

RA Capital closed its third fund, RA Capital Nexus Fund III, in 2021 with $880 million to invest in private companies. Its recent forays into venture rounds include a $105 million Series C round raised by antibody drug developer Alentis Therapeutics, and an $85 million Series A round for the DNA-based medicines firm Rampart Bioscience.


5. Versant Ventures
Founded: 1999
Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Versant uses a mixture of debt, early stage, late stage, and private equity strategies to nurture biotech companies that are discovering and developing novel therapeutics. The firm also runs so-called Discovery Engines, which are in-house teams of scientists working with academic founders to launch new biotech companies from scratch.

Versant manages approximately $4.2 billion in assets and raised $950 million in 2021 to feed three funds: its primary global biotech fund Versant Venture Capital VIII, the booster fund Versant Voyageurs II, and the late-stage fund Versant Vantage II.

Versant has backed big industry names like the gene editing-focused CRISPR Therapeutics, pharma company Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and immunotherapy developer Gritstone bio.

One of its major portfolio successes was the radiopharmaceutical player RayzeBio, which closed a $358 million IPO earlier this year. Versant also had stakes in Monte Rosa Therapeutics, a molecular glue drug developer that raised $222.3 million in an IPO in 2021 and the medical device company Inari Medical, which bagged $179.2 million in an IPO in 2020. Versant’s gene therapy-focused portfolio company Audentes was taken over by Astellas in 2019 for an impressive $3 billion.

In recent months, Versant joined Arch in backing Gate Bioscience’s Series A round. It contributed to a $35 million Series B round raised by biologics firm Tentarix Biotherapeutics and a $60 million Series A round to finance oncology company Nexo Therapeutics.


Jonathan Smith is a freelance science journalist based in the U.K. and Spain. He previously worked in Berlin as reporter and news editor at Labiotech, a website covering the biotech industry. Prior to this, he completed a PhD in behavioral neurobiology at the University of Leicester and freelanced for the U.K. organizations Research Media and Society of Experimental Biology. He has also written for medwireNews, Biopharma Reporter and Outsourcing Pharma.

The post The Top Five Venture Capital Heavyweights in Life Sciences appeared first on Inside Precision Medicine.

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The Coming Of The Police State In America

The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now…



The Coming Of The Police State In America

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times,

The National Guard and the State Police are now patrolling the New York City subway system in an attempt to do something about the explosion of crime. As part of this, there are bag checks and new surveillance of all passengers. No legislation, no debate, just an edict from the mayor.

Many citizens who rely on this system for transportation might welcome this. It’s a city of strict gun control, and no one knows for sure if they have the right to defend themselves. Merchants have been harassed and even arrested for trying to stop looting and pillaging in their own shops.

The message has been sent: Only the police can do this job. Whether they do it or not is another matter.

Things on the subway system have gotten crazy. If you know it well, you can manage to travel safely, but visitors to the city who take the wrong train at the wrong time are taking grave risks.

In actual fact, it’s guaranteed that this will only end in confiscating knives and other things that people carry in order to protect themselves while leaving the actual criminals even more free to prey on citizens.

The law-abiding will suffer and the criminals will grow more numerous. It will not end well.

When you step back from the details, what we have is the dawning of a genuine police state in the United States. It only starts in New York City. Where is the Guard going to be deployed next? Anywhere is possible.

If the crime is bad enough, citizens will welcome it. It must have been this way in most times and places that when the police state arrives, the people cheer.

We will all have our own stories of how this came to be. Some might begin with the passage of the Patriot Act and the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security in 2001. Some will focus on gun control and the taking away of citizens’ rights to defend themselves.

My own version of events is closer in time. It began four years ago this month with lockdowns. That’s what shattered the capacity of civil society to function in the United States. Everything that has happened since follows like one domino tumbling after another.

It goes like this:

1) lockdown,

2) loss of moral compass and spreading of loneliness and nihilism,

3) rioting resulting from citizen frustration, 4) police absent because of ideological hectoring,

5) a rise in uncontrolled immigration/refugees,

6) an epidemic of ill health from substance abuse and otherwise,

7) businesses flee the city

8) cities fall into decay, and that results in

9) more surveillance and police state.

The 10th stage is the sacking of liberty and civilization itself.

It doesn’t fall out this way at every point in history, but this seems like a solid outline of what happened in this case. Four years is a very short period of time to see all of this unfold. But it is a fact that New York City was more-or-less civilized only four years ago. No one could have predicted that it would come to this so quickly.

But once the lockdowns happened, all bets were off. Here we had a policy that most directly trampled on all freedoms that we had taken for granted. Schools, businesses, and churches were slammed shut, with various levels of enforcement. The entire workforce was divided between essential and nonessential, and there was widespread confusion about who precisely was in charge of designating and enforcing this.

It felt like martial law at the time, as if all normal civilian law had been displaced by something else. That something had to do with public health, but there was clearly more going on, because suddenly our social media posts were censored and we were being asked to do things that made no sense, such as mask up for a virus that evaded mask protection and walk in only one direction in grocery aisles.

Vast amounts of the white-collar workforce stayed home—and their kids, too—until it became too much to bear. The city became a ghost town. Most U.S. cities were the same.

As the months of disaster rolled on, the captives were let out of their houses for the summer in order to protest racism but no other reason. As a way of excusing this, the same public health authorities said that racism was a virus as bad as COVID-19, so therefore it was permitted.

The protests had turned to riots in many cities, and the police were being defunded and discouraged to do anything about the problem. Citizens watched in horror as downtowns burned and drug-crazed freaks took over whole sections of cities. It was like every standard of decency had been zapped out of an entire swath of the population.

Meanwhile, large checks were arriving in people’s bank accounts, defying every normal economic expectation. How could people not be working and get their bank accounts more flush with cash than ever? There was a new law that didn’t even require that people pay rent. How weird was that? Even student loans didn’t need to be paid.

By the fall, recess from lockdown was over and everyone was told to go home again. But this time they had a job to do: They were supposed to vote. Not at the polling places, because going there would only spread germs, or so the media said. When the voting results finally came in, it was the absentee ballots that swung the election in favor of the opposition party that actually wanted more lockdowns and eventually pushed vaccine mandates on the whole population.

The new party in control took note of the large population movements out of cities and states that they controlled. This would have a large effect on voting patterns in the future. But they had a plan. They would open the borders to millions of people in the guise of caring for refugees. These new warm bodies would become voters in time and certainly count on the census when it came time to reapportion political power.

Meanwhile, the native population had begun to swim in ill health from substance abuse, widespread depression, and demoralization, plus vaccine injury. This increased dependency on the very institutions that had caused the problem in the first place: the medical/scientific establishment.

The rise of crime drove the small businesses out of the city. They had barely survived the lockdowns, but they certainly could not survive the crime epidemic. This undermined the tax base of the city and allowed the criminals to take further control.

The same cities became sanctuaries for the waves of migrants sacking the country, and partisan mayors actually used tax dollars to house these invaders in high-end hotels in the name of having compassion for the stranger. Citizens were pushed out to make way for rampaging migrant hordes, as incredible as this seems.

But with that, of course, crime rose ever further, inciting citizen anger and providing a pretext to bring in the police state in the form of the National Guard, now tasked with cracking down on crime in the transportation system.

What’s the next step? It’s probably already here: mass surveillance and censorship, plus ever-expanding police power. This will be accompanied by further population movements, as those with the means to do so flee the city and even the country and leave it for everyone else to suffer.

As I tell the story, all of this seems inevitable. It is not. It could have been stopped at any point. A wise and prudent political leadership could have admitted the error from the beginning and called on the country to rediscover freedom, decency, and the difference between right and wrong. But ego and pride stopped that from happening, and we are left with the consequences.

The government grows ever bigger and civil society ever less capable of managing itself in large urban centers. Disaster is unfolding in real time, mitigated only by a rising stock market and a financial system that has yet to fall apart completely.

Are we at the middle stages of total collapse, or at the point where the population and people in leadership positions wise up and decide to put an end to the downward slide? It’s hard to know. But this much we do know: There is a growing pocket of resistance out there that is fed up and refuses to sit by and watch this great country be sacked and taken over by everything it was set up to prevent.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 16:20

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Another beloved brewery files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The beer industry has been devastated by covid, changing tastes, and maybe fallout from the Bud Light scandal.



Before the covid pandemic, craft beer was having a moment. Most cities had multiple breweries and taprooms with some having so many that people put together the brewery version of a pub crawl.

It was a period where beer snobbery ruled the day and it was not uncommon to hear bar patrons discuss the makeup of the beer the beer they were drinking. This boom period always seemed destined for failure, or at least a retraction as many markets seemed to have more craft breweries than they could support.

Related: Fast-food chain closes more stores after Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The pandemic, however, hastened that downfall. Many of these local and regional craft breweries counted on in-person sales to drive their business. 

And while many had local and regional distribution, selling through a third party comes with much lower margins. Direct sales drove their business and the pandemic forced many breweries to shut down their taprooms during the period where social distancing rules were in effect.

During those months the breweries still had rent and employees to pay while little money was coming in. That led to a number of popular beermakers including San Francisco's nationally-known Anchor Brewing as well as many regional favorites including Chicago’s Metropolitan Brewing, New Jersey’s Flying Fish, Denver’s Joyride Brewing, Tampa’s Zydeco Brew Werks, and Cleveland’s Terrestrial Brewing filing bankruptcy.

Some of these brands hope to survive, but others, including Anchor Brewing, fell into Chapter 7 liquidation. Now, another domino has fallen as a popular regional brewery has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Overall beer sales have fallen.

Image source: Shutterstock

Covid is not the only reason for brewery bankruptcies

While covid deserves some of the blame for brewery failures, it's not the only reason why so many have filed for bankruptcy protection. Overall beer sales have fallen driven by younger people embracing non-alcoholic cocktails, and the rise in popularity of non-beer alcoholic offerings,

Beer sales have fallen to their lowest levels since 1999 and some industry analysts

"Sales declined by more than 5% in the first nine months of the year, dragged down not only by the backlash and boycotts against Anheuser-Busch-owned Bud Light but the changing habits of younger drinkers," according to data from Beer Marketer’s Insights published by the New York Post.

Bud Light parent Anheuser Busch InBev (BUD) faced massive boycotts after it partnered with transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney. It was a very small partnership but it led to a right-wing backlash spurred on by Kid Rock, who posted a video on social media where he chastised the company before shooting up cases of Bud Light with an automatic weapon.

Another brewery files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Gizmo Brew Works, which does business under the name Roth Brewing Company LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 8. In its filing, the company checked the box that indicates that its debts are less than $7.5 million and it chooses to proceed under Subchapter V of Chapter 11. 

"Both small business and subchapter V cases are treated differently than a traditional chapter 11 case primarily due to accelerated deadlines and the speed with which the plan is confirmed," explained. 

Roth Brewing/Gizmo Brew Works shared that it has 50-99 creditors and assets $100,000 and $500,000. The filing noted that the company does expect to have funds available for unsecured creditors. 

The popular brewery operates three taprooms and sells its beer to go at those locations.

"Join us at Gizmo Brew Works Craft Brewery and Taprooms located in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Find us for entertainment, live music, food trucks, beer specials, and most importantly, great-tasting craft beer by Gizmo Brew Works," the company shared on its website.

The company estimates that it has between $1 and $10 million in liabilities (a broad range as the bankruptcy form does not provide a space to be more specific).

Gizmo Brew Works/Roth Brewing did not share a reorganization or funding plan in its bankruptcy filing. An email request for comment sent through the company's contact page was not immediately returned.


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Revving up tourism: Formula One and other big events look set to drive growth in the hospitality industry

With big events drawing a growing share of of tourism dollars, F1 offers a potential glimpse of the travel industry’s future.




Sergio Perez of Oracle Red Bull Racing, right, and Charles Leclerc of the Scuderia Ferrari team compete in the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Nov. 19, 2023. Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty Images

In late 2023, I embarked on my first Formula One race experience, attending the first-ever Las Vegas Grand Prix. I had never been to an F1 race; my interest was sparked during the pandemic, largely through the Netflix series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive.”

But I wasn’t just attending as a fan. As the inaugural chair of the University of Florida’s department of tourism, hospitality and event management, I saw this as an opportunity. Big events and festivals represent a growing share of the tourism market – as an educator, I want to prepare future leaders to manage them.

And what better place to learn how to do that than in the stands of the Las Vegas Grand Prix?

A smiling professor is illuminated by bright lights in a nighttime photo taken at a Formula 1 event in Nevada.
The author at the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Katherine Fu

The future of tourism is in events and experiences

Tourism is fun, but it’s also big business: In the U.S. alone, it’s a US$2.6 trillion industry employing 15 million people. And with travelers increasingly planning their trips around events rather than places, both industry leaders and academics are paying attention.

Event tourism is also key to many cities’ economic development strategies – think Chicago and its annual Lollapalooza music festival, which has been hosted in Grant Park since 2005. In 2023, Lollapalooza generated an estimated $422 million for the local economy and drew record-breaking crowds to the city’s hotels.

That’s why when Formula One announced it would be making a 10-year commitment to host races in Las Vegas, the region’s tourism agency was eager to spread the news. The 2023 grand prix eventually generated $100 million in tax revenue, the head of that agency later announced.

Why Formula One?

Formula One offers a prime example of the economic importance of event tourism. In 2022, Formula One generated about $2.6 billion in total revenues, according to the latest full-year data from its parent company. That’s up 20% from 2021 and 27% from 2019, the last pre-COVID year. A record 5.7 million fans attended Formula One races in 2022, up 36% from 2019.

This surge in interest can be attributed to expanded broadcasting rights, sponsorship deals and a growing global fan base. And, of course, the in-person events make a lot of money – the cheapest tickets to the Las Vegas Grand Prix were $500.

Two brightly colored race cars are seen speeding down a track in a blur.
Turn 1 at the first Las Vegas Grand Prix. Rachel Fu, CC BY

That’s why I think of Formula One as more than just a pastime: It’s emblematic of a major shift in the tourism industry that offers substantial job opportunities. And it takes more than drivers and pit crews to make Formula One run – it takes a diverse range of professionals in fields such as event management, marketing, engineering and beyond.

This rapid industry growth indicates an opportune moment for universities to adapt their hospitality and business curricula and prepare students for careers in this profitable field.

How hospitality and business programs should prepare students

To align with the evolving landscape of mega-events like Formula One races, hospitality schools should, I believe, integrate specialized training in event management, luxury hospitality and international business. Courses focusing on large-scale event planning, VIP client management and cross-cultural communication are essential.

Another area for curriculum enhancement is sustainability and innovation in hospitality. Formula One, like many other companies, has increased its emphasis on environmental responsibility in recent years. While some critics have been skeptical of this push, I think it makes sense. After all, the event tourism industry both contributes to climate change and is threatened by it. So, programs may consider incorporating courses in sustainable event management, eco-friendly hospitality practices and innovations in sustainable event and tourism.

Additionally, business programs may consider emphasizing strategic marketing, brand management and digital media strategies for F1 and for the larger event-tourism space. As both continue to evolve, understanding how to leverage digital platforms, engage global audiences and create compelling brand narratives becomes increasingly important.

Beyond hospitality and business, other disciplines such as material sciences, engineering and data analytics can also integrate F1 into their curricula. Given the younger generation’s growing interest in motor sports, embedding F1 case studies and projects in these programs can enhance student engagement and provide practical applications of theoretical concepts.

Racing into the future: Formula One today and tomorrow

F1 has boosted its outreach to younger audiences in recent years and has also acted to strengthen its presence in the U.S., a market with major potential for the sport. The 2023 Las Vegas race was a strategic move in this direction. These decisions, along with the continued growth of the sport’s fan base and sponsorship deals, underscore F1’s economic significance and future potential.

Looking ahead in 2024, Formula One seems ripe for further expansion. New races, continued advancements in broadcasting technology and evolving sponsorship models are expected to drive revenue growth. And Season 6 of “Drive to Survive” will be released on Feb. 23, 2024. We already know that was effective marketing – after all, it inspired me to check out the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

I’m more sure than ever that big events like this will play a major role in the future of tourism – a message I’ll be imparting to my students. And in my free time, I’m planning to enhance my quality of life in 2024 by synchronizing my vacations with the F1 calendar. After all, nothing says “relaxing getaway” quite like the roar of engines and excitement of the racetrack.

Rachel J.C. Fu does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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