Private Equity Investments in Biotech Genomic Companies
Although much progress has been made in the last 30 years, the field of genetics is still an open frontier with much left to discover and learn.
In 1990, the quest to map the human genome was funded with $3 billion by the US Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The project was expected to take 15 years. In an unusual twist – delivering a completed project before the deadline – the human genome was fully mapped by April 2003, two years early.
Since then, progress in the science and methodologies to map DNA has developed significantly, reducing the cost from billions to a few hundred dollars, making DNA mapping (or at least partial mapping) affordable to the general public.
This has given rise to notable B-2-C companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe. In fact, the private equity firm Hendale Capital invested in 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company. 23andMe offers a proprietary FDA-approved genetic microarray test and web portal that helps consumers understand their health, genetic traits, and ancestry.
While most people are more familiar with these consumer facing companies that offer genomic testing, private equity firms have made more significant investments in portfolio companies involved in the field of rare genetic diseases, (sample transactions shown below).
Private Equity Investments in Biopharma Genetics Companies – Sample Transactions
- Aisling Capital invested in Aeglea BioTherapeutics (Austin, TX), a biopharmaceutical company developing human enzyme therapeutics for rare genetic diseases.
- TPG invested $225 million in Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc (AskBio) (Research Triangle Park, NC), a developer and manufacturer of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) gene therapy therapeutics for under-served patient populations with rare and generally untreatable genetic disorders.
- Foresite Capital invested in Blueprint Medicines (Cambridge, MA). The company is developing a new generation of highly selective and potent kinase therapies to dramatically improve the lives of patients with genomically defined diseases. The company’s approach is rooted in a deep understanding of the genetic blueprint of cancer and other diseases driven by the abnormal activation of kinases.
- Valor Equity Partners invested in Castle Creek Pharma (Parsippany, NJ). The company is developing treatments for rare genetic dermatologic diseases.
- Polaris Partners and Foresite Capital invested in Editas Medicine (Cambridge, MA), a genome editing company focused on generating a novel class of therapeutics for a broad range of genetic diseases.
- Petra Capital Partners invested in Lineagen (Salt Lake CIty, UT), a genetic testing service for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders.
- Andera Partners invested in LogicBio (Cambridge, MA), a genome editing company developing genetic medicines for the fight against rare pediatric diseases.
- OrbiMed Advisors and ForeSite Capital invested in Natera, a leading genetic testing company that has developed a proprietary bioinformatics-based technology (NATUS) to deliver accurate and comprehensive high-throughput testing for reproductive indications from tiny quantities of DNA.
- ForeSite Capital invested in Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity.
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