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New Funds Backing Global Health, Early-Stage Ventures

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(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

18 Feb. 2021. Three new funds are financing start-up companies creating solutions for health issues in less-developed countries and early-stage life science businesses. The new venture funds announced today by Adjuvant Capital in New York and Advent Life Sciences in London total $515 million.

Adjuvant Capital unveiled its first venture fund of $300 million that aims to support new businesses tackling health problems in poorer regions of the world usually not supported by mainstream venture investors. The company invests in start-ups addressing maternal health, child health, and infectious diseases — particularly HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria — as well as tropical diseases, pandemic threats, antimicrobial resistance, and nutrition.

Adjuvant says it backs businesses developing solutions showing solid proof-of-concept evidence, with a majority of its investments going to enterprises providing data from mid-stage clinical trials or later.  The company says it already funds companies developing vaccines to prevent infections in newborns, Crispr-based therapies for HIV and hepatitis B, broad-spectrum therapies for infectious diseases, non-hormonal contraceptives for women, fortified snacks to prevent malnutrition, and technologies for manufacturing more stable vaccines and other biologics.

“Our new fund will finance cutting-edge research so we are better prepared for threats old and new alike,” says Adjuvant Capital founder and managing partner Glenn Rockman in a company statement released through Cision, “with the ultimate goal of saving or improving millions of lives by bringing urgently-needed drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and medical devices to market.” Rockman adds, “As viruses like Ebola, Zika, and SARS-CoV-2 have clearly demonstrated, wealthy countries are vulnerable to these pathogens as well.”

Adjuvant Capital’s investors include top-tier foundations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that helped start the company, Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, among others. Also backing Adjuvant are the International Finance Corporation, drug makers Merck and Novartis, and several venture investment companies.

Two new funds backing R&D from academic labs

Advent Life Sciences is launching two new funds backing early-stage life science enterprises. Advent Life Sciences Fund III and Advent-Harrington Impact Fund raised a total of $215 million for investments in start-ups developing new medical technologies based on research in academic labs. The funds expect to finance new companies mainly with seed funding and first venture round, known as series A.

As the name implies, Advent Life Sciences Fund III is the company’s third venture investment fund backing new businesses commercializing medical research from academic labs. The new fund includes investments from British Patient Capital, the venture investment subsidiary of British Business Bank, and other investors.

“Developing new life science technologies from research through to new medicines is crucial,” says Judith Hartley, CEO of British Patient Capital, in an Advent Life Sciences statement. “Long-term patient capital can support our high-potential, high growth life science companies to reach their full potential and deliver compelling returns.”

The Advent-Harrington Impact Fund is a partnership between Advent Life Sciences and Harrington Discovery Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. The Harrington Discovery Institute funds research and scholars studying treatments and technologies in rare diseases and other unmet medical needs. The Advent-Harrington Impact Fund plans to support translational research and development worldwide, particularly where it results in benefits for patients and the larger society.

“This new collaboration,” says Shahzad Malik, Advent Life Sciences general partner, “will allow us to both broaden the quality of the investment opportunities across the globe and increase the amount of capital available to support them.”

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