Israel Biotech Fund (IBF) has announced the first closure for its second fund. The volume and extent of the closure was not disclosed, but is probably similar to IBF's first fund, which raised $70 million. IBF, founded with support from Teva chairman Sol Barer, is managed by Dr. David Sidransky, Dr. Yuval Cabilly, and Ido Zairi.
IBF was founded in 2015 as a development of a mentors club founded by Barer in the US for Israeli medical companies. The club consisted of leading medical industry figures. IBF has a team of over 25 venture advisors who are leaders in the global pharma industry, some of whom have join the boards of directors of the companies in which IBF invests.
Portfolio companies of IBF's first fund include Ayala Pharmaceuticals, a company founded by IBF in which Harel Insurance and the aMoon fund invested. Ayala received a license to develop a number of cancer drugs that previously belonged to Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS). Ayala has raised $47 million to date. Its most recent financing round was led by drug company Novartis. Former Schering-Plough CMO Robert Spiegel and former Regeneron CFO Murray Goldberg were appointed directors in Ayala on IBF's behalf.
Another significant investment by IBF is in Pharm Two B, which is in advanced clinical trials for a drug for treatment of Parkinson's Disease. A third investment is in Biond Biologics, founded by veterans of cCAM Biotherapeutics, which was sold to Merck in 2015. Biond Biologics, which develops innovative cancer drugs, raised $17 million in its most recent financing round, with participation from biotech company Celgene, a strategic investor in IBF.
"The appointment of members of our team of venture advisors as directors and advisors for the fund's portfolio companies changes the equation in these companies," Sidransky says. "The contribution to Israeli companies by senior global pharma figures includes strategic drug development leadership, providing values of proper administration according to international standards, help in recruiting additional key personnel in the company, financial help, and creating a connection with large pharma and biotech companies that has already yielded investments in the companies."
Commenting on the global pharma and biotech industry, Sidransky said, "Drug development has been undergoing major changes in recent years, both worldwide and in Israel, as a result of scientific breakthroughs in immunotherapy and genetic therapy, in addition to positive changes in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These changes have caused a leap in the number of new drugs approved by the FDA in recent years. The change is especially evident in the financial aspect; the amount of money raised by venture capital funds and through public offerings has increased many times over in recent years."
Referring to the local industry, Sidranksy added, "Impressive progress is taking place in Israel. After meeting over 200 biotech companies in the past four years, we see strong improvement in the level of professionalism. We are glad to meet with any company, even if we don't invest in it."
Cabilly commented, "We see a change in the trend among investment institutions, which are entering the sector through investment in funds and in the companies themselves. One example is our cooperation with Harel Insurance; beyond being an anchor investor in the second fund, it also invested directly in a number of private companies including Ayala."
Among the prominent investors in IBF's fund are Consensus Business Group (CBG), headed by Vincent Tchenguiz, which invests in life science, cleantech, and internal security technologies.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 16, 2019
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019