- Three longtime biotechnology investors have formed a new venture firm that has raised $350 million to invest in drug startups.
- The firm, called Cure Ventures, was launched by Richard Lim, David Fallace and Lou Tartaglia, each of whom have many years of experience building biotechs elsewhere. They previously had a hand in Juno Therapeutics, Agios Pharmaceuticals and Nuvation Bio, among others.
- The company says it will make around 20 investments with its inaugural fund, focusing in particular on company creation and early-stage investments.
Despite the headwinds young biotechs now face in raising capital, money is still flowing into venture firms. Data from the National Venture Capital Association shows that investment firms across industries raised about $163 billion last year and deployed nearly $31 billion in biotech and pharma specifically.
Cure, with its $350 million, joins at least two other venture funds focused on health and biotech that have closed funds so far in 2023. SR One announced a second fund in March, bringing in $600 million to support life science startups. Dimension, founded by Lux Capital and Obvious Ventures alumni, said in January it had put together a $350 million fund.
Founded in 2021, Cure aims to get in on the ground floor and either create startups or work with those just beginning. Lim said its partners will be embedded in the startup formation process and use genetic data to better understand which drug candidates might have higher chances of success.
Biotech is a “spectacularly difficult” industry, Lim said, with a high rate of failure and rising research and development costs.
“Cure understands and respects these challenges and believes that our approach allows us to rigorously assess technology and establish the optimal foundation for success early on,” Lim said. This can help “derisk” the investment, he added.
Though Cure hasn’t named any portfolio companies, it is committed to early-stage investments, largely seed financings. It plans to stick with companies through further funding rounds and, eventually, to either initial public offerings or acquisitions.
Cure’s focus coincides with a recent shift by investors to redirect cash toward early-stage investments within their own portfolios, a trend that’s left more advanced startups struggling to secure fresh funds for their programs.
Cure’s three founders count four decades of biotech investment experience between them. Lim was at Omega Funds for more than a decade, and previously was a partner at MVM Life Sciences Partners.
Fallace was a director at the Alaska Permanent Fund, which invested in both Juno and Denali Therapeutics. He later joined the Investment Fund for Foundations as a managing director and spent nearly two years as an adviser at Polaris Partners.
Tartaglia was most recently a partner at 5AM Ventures, where he headed their 4:59 Initiative to incubate promising biotech companies. Before that, he worked at Third Rock Ventures.
The three said they drew Cure’s funds from a mix of investors, including public pension funds, foundations, endowments, healthcare systems, sovereign wealth funds and family offices