Westlake Village BioPartners, a venture capital firm focused on biotech startups in the Conejo Valley and the rest of greater Los Angeles, launched two new funds Dec. 15 worth a total of $500 million.
The first fund is $70 million and will be used for Series B or later financing into companies that Westlake Village BioPartners has already invested with. The second fund is $430 million and will go to Series A and B rounds for around 12 new companies.
The two new funds bring the total raised by Westlake Village BioPartners to more than $820 million since it was founded in 2018.
“With these two new funds, we will be managing more early stage venture capital solely from the greater Los Angeles area than any other firm,” Dr. Beth Seidenberg, a co-founder and managing director of the firm, said in a news release announcing the new funds.
“Los Angeles is an emerging biotech community that is fresh and exciting, and we are seeing an explosion of new startups in this region,” Seidenberg said. “We believe technology can come from anywhere, but our preference is to build companies in Los Angeles to help build out a new ecosystem.”
The firm’s other co-founder and managing director, Dr. Sean Harper, said in the release that the speed of innovation in biotech is “accelerating exponentially,” ushering in what Westlake Village BioPartners considers “the golden age of biotechnology.”
The firm’s headquarters is just inside the Thousand Oaks city limits and the Ventura County line, and it has been working with Alexandria Real Estate Equities to secure laboratory and office space in the area for its startups. Alexandra is developing a three-building, 130,000-square-foot life sciences campus in Thousand Oaks, with 30,000 square feet already in operation, according to Westlake’s news release.
Five of the companies Westlake Village BioPartners supported with its first fund are based at that Thousand Oaks campus, and two of the three companies identified for investments with the new fund will be in that space.
Westlake Village BioPartners also announced the launch of a new startup on Dec. 15, backed by the firm’s Series A financing: Acelyrin, which is focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing promising drugs from other biotech companies. The firm did not disclose the size of the investment.
Acelyrin’s founders, Bob Carey and Dr. Shao-Lee Lin, are biotech veterans who have helped develop medicines with combined annual sales of more than $30 billion, Westlake Village BioPartners said.
“Acelyrin is poised for rapid growth with financing and infrastructure ready to be activated upon a program acquisition,” Seidenberg said. “With Shao-Lee and Bob at the helm, I am confident Acelyrin will achieve its goal of building a fully integrated biopharma company with broad research, development and commercialization capabilities.”