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February 12, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Two firms target more than $3.3 billion on life science sector

ARCH Venture Partners raising new $3 billion fund, while Scion Life Sciences closes its oversubscribed $310 million fund.

There was some big money announced last week by two firms last week that are focused on life sciences. One is a new group, the other is announcing its 13th fund.

ARCH Venture Partners, one of the top investors in the biotech ecosystem, has filed a Form D with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicating plans to raise $3 billion for a new fund. The official title is ARCH Venture Fund XIII. Separately, Scion Life Sciences, an affiliate of Petrichor and a New York City-based life sciences venture capital firm dedicated to founding and building exceptional biotechnology companies, announced the final close of its inaugural fund, which was oversubscribed with $310 million in capital commitments.

ARCH traces its roots to 1986 when the ARCH Development Corporation was initially created by the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory as a nonprofit initiative to commercialize  technology developed by the two entities. The four letters of the name ARCH reflect the heritage – AR for Argonne and CH for the University.

From its inaugural fund that raised $9 million, ARCH Venture Partners crossed the $1 billion threshold in 2016 with a $1.1 billion fund. Its last – Fund XII in 2022 – raised $2.975 billion.

In its most recent news release announcing a new Partner, the firm described itself as creating and investing “in groundbreaking life science and technology companies. The firm is a recognized leader in commercializing technologies developed at academic institutions, corporate research groups and national laboratories. ARCH invests primarily in companies it co-founds with leading scientists and entrepreneurs, bringing innovations in life sciences and physical sciences to market.”

Scion’s mission is to create medicines that cure or transform the clinical management of serious and life-threatening diseases and this overriding objective informs every aspect of the firm’s strategy and approach. Scion forms and builds companies around translational innovations with the right bone structure to become clinically important medicines and is structured to support portfolio companies with the long-term capital and operational resources required to realize the mature clinical potential of the therapies they discover and develop. Scion is able to make initial investments as small as a few thousand dollars in early-stage incubation efforts but is resourced to cumulatively deploy $60 million or more over the life of each portfolio company investment and to support promising portfolio companies from pre-seed stage through to Initial Public Offering and beyond.

According to the news release announcing the close, Scion described its focus on three investment pillars to mitigate risk and increase the probability of delivering transformational medicines for patients. They are:

  • Investing in therapeutic modalities and enabling technologies that are sufficiently mature to make clinically important medicines today or in the near term;
  • Investing in therapeutic areas, diseases, and drug targets where deep understanding of the underlying science makes powerful intervention possible; and
  • Focusing on clinical problems that can be addressed with the resources available to an independent biotechnology company.

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