Opportunities to allocate capital directly are more prevalent now than ever before, and family offices seem to be at the center of this continued growth. In utilizing the FINTRX family office data and research platform, which provides intel into thousands of direct deal transactions made by 3,030+ family offices around the globe, we explore three family offices directly investing in pharmaceutical companies.
1. LaunchCapital (Karen Pritzker and Michael Vlock Family Office)
Founded by Elon Boms, Karen Pritzker, and Michael Vlock in 2008, LaunchCapital is a New Haven, Connecticut-based single-family office serving as the direct investment and venture arm of the Karen Pritzker and Michael Vlock Family Office. LaunchCapital actively makes seed series investments into a range of companies. The firm targets companies raising first and second rounds of institutional capital and regularly make follow-on investments. LaunchCapital is industry agnostic and has invested in companies throughout the consumer goods, media and entertainment, pharmaceutical, software, technology, data, finance, medical technology, e-commerce, healthcare, and social media spaces.
In January 2011, LaunchCapital directly invested in Bioxiness Pharmaceuticals, a Hercules, California-based pre-clinical stage company that develops antimicrobial compounds to treat severe bacterial infections. In November 2015, LaunchCapital directly invested in TearSolutions, a Charlottesville, Virginia-based limited liability company offering natural therapy for dry eye, the most common eye disease. Fast forward to May 2018, when LaunchCapital directly invested in Carpe, a Durham, North Carolina-based company offering a suite of sweat-stopping products for all over the body. LaunchCapital offers its portfolio companies an extensive network of entrepreneurs to help with core issues and business growth. Since its inception, LaunchCapital has invested in over 200 companies throughout the United States. The group looks to take part in rounds of funding from pre-seed to Series B. LaunchCapital will make minority investments and regularly co-invests alongside other family offices and venture capital groups.
2. Bellco Capital (Arie Belldegrun Family Office)
Established in 2003, Bellco Capital (Arie Belldegrun Family Office) is a Los Angeles, CA-based single-family office managing the wealth of Arie Belldegrun. Mr. Belldegrun is a renowned entrepreneur and venture capitalist, best known for founding Kite Pharma, which engages in the development of genetically engineered treatments for cancer. Belldegrun sold Kite Pharma in 2017 for approximately $11.9 billion. Today, Bellco Capital allocates to several asset classes, focusing primarily on real estate, private equity, direct investments, life sciences, and venture capital transactions. Sectors and industries of interest include biotechnology, neuroscience, therapeutics, and pharmaceuticals, among others.
In December 2017, Bellco Capital directly invested in Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, a clinical-stage company developing cancer immunotherapies that target the tumor microenvironment to enhance the body’s antitumor immunity. Max Krummel, Ph.D., a professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine (UCSF) founded the company in 2015 and has been making significant strides in immuno-oncology since the mid-1990s. In April 2018, Bellco Capital directly invested in Allogene Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on pioneering the development of allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor T cell (AlloCAR T) therapies for cancer. Three months later, Bellco Capital directly invested in Sutro Biopharma, a public biotechnology company headquartered in South San Francisco, California focused on clinical-stage drug discovery, development, and manufacturing.
In April 2019, Bellco directly invested in Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), a clinical-stage gene therapy company on a quest to advance genetic technology and life-saving AAV gene therapy. Its clinical pipeline covers a broad range of central nervous system, neuromuscular, metabolic, and cardiovascular disorders. Its technology and AAV therapeutic assets were acquired or licensed by leading pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer, Pfizer, Takeda, and Novartis. AskBio has additional research and development facilities in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Paris, France, as well as gene therapy manufacturing in San Sebastian, Spain. Bellco Capital makes venture capital investments through its affiliate, Vida Ventures, which seeks to invest in transformative biomedical innovations across all stages. Bellco will take part in co-investment and joint venture opportunities and can act as the lead or non-lead investor.
3. Cerus Advisors
Cerus Advisors is a Dubai-based single-family office managing the wealth of an undisclosed high-net-worth family. The firm offers customized advisory services that guide its portfolio companies and global partners in seeking private equity investments, deploying private equity resources, and structuring highly customized private transactions. Cerus invests globally with a core focus on the pharmaceutical, medical device, life sciences, health care, and real estate industries. In February 2016, the group directly invested in Senté Inc., a California-based skincare company founded in 2007. Senté is the first company to design versions of these molecules and infuse them into exclusive collagen-repairing formulas. Targeted to help firm and repair skin from within, the skin-firming duo Dermatan Sulfate Analog (DSA) and Chondroitin Sulfate Analog (CSA) support the skin’s natural ability to promote collagen and elastin production.
In April 2020, Cerus directly invested in Laboratori Derivati Organici SpA (LDO), a global manufacturer of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients ("API"). The product portfolio of LDO includes heparin, a widely used medication that prevents the formation of blood clots, along with a series of other specialized biological APIs. Since its establishment in 1960, LDO has oriented its productions towards the extraction of active pharmaceutical ingredients from animal organs. LDO distributes its products throughout five continents to multinational enterprises and local companies in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and nutritional fields, focusing primarily on the Far East (Japan and Korea) and European markets. With over 50 years of experience in the production of Glycosaminoglycans (Mucopolysaccharides) and anti-anemic action iron derivatives, LDO is one of the field’s leading players.
Cerus primarily seeks investment opportunities throughout Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, and North Africa, and invests across all stages of a company's life cycle. The group will work with other family offices and institutional investors to leverage their deal-making and investment expertise. Cerus has additional offices in Dubai, UAE, and in La Jolla, California.
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