A busy year with the final close of Sound Bioventures Fund I
2023 was a busy year for Sound Bioventures with the final close of Sound Bioventures Fund I taking the final total capital commitments to Fund I to €116m. We continued to build our portfolio with investments in four new companies and further expanded our investment team with the appointment of our first Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
Our focus remains on investing in about-to-be clinical and clinical-stage private companies in Europe and the USA developing novel medicines in therapeutics areas where there is significant unmet need. Through our active approach to investment, we are able to leverage our extensive prior operating, financing and Board governance experience alongside our large industry network.
With this support, our investee companies have made strong progress throughout the year and we are excited to see what the future holds for the exceptionally talented teams that are driving these companies forward.
We would like to thank all of our LPs for their support over the last 12 months, and look forward to a year of further progress for Sound Bioventures and our portfolio companies in 2024.
From left to right: Casper Breum; Anne Marie Simon; Thomas Tan; Bibhash Mukhopadhyay; Ester Sklarsky; Johan Kördel; Fredrik Lehmann; Philip Brainin
Completing the close of our first fund Sound Bioventures Fund I
We completed the final close of Sound Bioventures Fund I, taking the total capital commitments to Fund I to €116m.
Our investment strategy, which we embarked on at the outset of the Fund, is working well, as evidenced by the six investments we have completed in our first two years. We are constructing a diverse portfolio in terms of therapeutic area and geography, while always maintaining our core values in how we work with our stakeholders: Decent, Dedicated, Confident and Humble.
Growing and strengthening the team
As Management teams and entrepreneurs, you will find us taking an active role in our portfolio companies through Board participation, partnering closely with our investee companies (on everything from corporate governance, strategic decision making, operational and company building decisions and recruitment) where we can leverage our extensive operating, financing and Board governance experience together with our large industry network. We are collaborative and active problem-solvers, focused on what makes the company, and therefore our investment in it, successful.
As co-investors, you will find us straightforward, transparent, long-term oriented and doing the right thing for the company at every step of our decision making. We believe that philosophical alignment in the outcome of an investment and how you build a company is important in delivering the capital returns from a shared investment.
Correspondingly, we were delighted to welcome several new members to our high-quality and growing team, each of whom brings important relevant experience to strengthen our investment and operational capabilities and shares our investment philosophy.
Fredrik Lehmann joined us in October to become our first Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Fredrik’s role will be to help form companies around clinical or almost clinical-stage assets, typically spun out of large pharma or biopharma companies or academia. Fredrik, who is based in Stockholm, Sweden, has more than 20 years of experience from the life science industry as an investor and as CEO, Head of Research and CMC in several companies, six out of which he started.
Earlier, in December 2022, Philip Brainin joined as Associate from Sunstone Life Sciences Ventures, where he conducted due diligence on incoming deals. After earning his medical degree from Copenhagen University, Philip worked as a research fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School to obtain his Ph.D. Subsequently, he worked with strategy support and business development for biotech start-ups and completed an MBA at Copenhagen Business School.
Anne Marie Simon joined as Office Manager bringing important experience of working in the international Private Equity sector including coordinating with portfolio company boards, managing the calendars of CEO and Executive Advisers worldwide and organizing prestigious Harvard Seminars.
Portfolio expansion continued with four new investments
In March, we co-led the €28m Series A financing in Teitur Trophics, a pre-clinical stage Danish company developing novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia. We syndicated with Sunstone, Innovestor, Industrifonden and P53.
In May, we participated in the €42m Series B financing in Arthex Biotech, a clinical-stage Spanish company developing novel therapeutics that act through the modulation of microRNAs for treatment of myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), a rare neuromuscular disorder that causes muscle weakness and other life-limiting complications. We syndicated with Columbus, Hadean, European Investment Fund, Invivo and Adbio.
Also, in May, we led a €30m Series B2 financing in VarmX, a Dutch company developing an agent to restore blood clotting in presence of Factor X anticoagulants. We are syndicated with Biogeneration Ventures, EQT, Ysios and Lundbeckfonden Ventures.
In September, we co-led a €27m Series A financing in Aboleris Pharma, a Belgian company developing a monoclonal antibody to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The drug, which acts through a completely novel mechanism, has the potential to be first-in-class and address needs of RA-patients refractory to current standard of care treatment, which is a very large unmet medical need and market. We syndicated with Caixa, Newton Biocapital and Wallonie Entrepreneurs’ Fund.
Significant portfolio news
Breye Therapeutics completed the in-licensing of a pre-clinical P2X7 program from Golgi Neuroscience to broaden its pipeline to address multiple back-of-the-eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy (DR) as well as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), primary causes of vision loss among working-age and elderly adults.
Arthex Biotech submitted its IND to begin clinical trials with lead compound ATX-01, an anti-microRNA that blocks the effect of a microRNA regulating the expression of a protein that causes myotonic dystrophy type 1 – a neuromuscular disorder that affects 100,000 to 150,000 people around the world. Highlighting the importance of its novel approach, Arthex had the opportunity to present key findings at the RNA Leaders conference and two other scientific conferences during the year.
Three of our portfolio companies, Aboleris, Teitur Trophics and VarmX, were short-listed for European Lifestar Awards in various categories. These industry awards are viewed by many stakeholders as an important barometer of success, recognising therapeutic innovations and their future potential to address important unmet medical needs.
Brand building, presence in ecosystem and thought leadership
As part of our commitment to be active participants in the biotech ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic, all the members of our investment team including our senior partners and associates have been involved in industry meetings and conferences across Scandinavia, Europe and the US. We have contributed to thought leadership articles related to biotech financing and the M&A landscape, which continue to be of importance to all industry participants. Bibhash continues to be a member of BioInnovation Institute’s Therapeutic Advisory Board in the US, while Johan became a member of the selection committee for the Danish biotech trade organisation DANSK BIOTEK (DANISH BIO) Annual Awards and a member of the Nomination Committee of SwedenBIO.
A year of great progress, building a strong foundation for the future
2023 has proven to be a busy year for the Sound Bioventures team. Together we have built an initial portfolio of six highly promising preclinical and clinical-stage companies where we believe our experience and expertise combined with our active approach can help make a difference to the success of these enterprises.
These companies are led by exceptional teams that, like us, are driven by the desire to make a difference for patients across a spectrum of diseases where there remains substantial unmet medical need.
We believe our investment strategy and approach make us an ideal partner for late preclinical and clinical-stage biopharma companies looking to finance development to their next important data read out, and we will continue to work diligently with our existing portfolio companies as well as sourcing new, high-quality investments.
Once again, we thank you for your continued interest and support and look forward to bringing you further updates during 2024.
Sound Bioventures is a venture capital fund investing in about-to-be clinical and clinical-stage private companies in Europe and the US developing novel medicines in specialty therapeutics areas.
Sound Bioventures Fund I AB is a registered alternative investment fund, under the Swedish Alternative Investment Funds Managers Act.
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