Avalon Ventures Enters Strategic Collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline to Fund and Launch Up to Ten Life Science Companies
First-of-its-kind Program Will Fuel Early-Stage Innovation
SAN DIEGO, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Avalon Ventures today announced that it has entered into a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to fund and launch up to ten early-stage life science companies in San Diego. This first-of-its-kind collaboration combines Avalon Ventures’ successful approach of investing in early-stage life science innovation with GSK’s expertise and resources in drug discovery and development.
Avalon Ventures will identify promising new technologies focusing on early-stage discovery across various therapy areas. A joint management committee of Avalon and GSK will then approve the formation of new companies based upon these technologies. Together, Avalon and GSK will finance these newly-established companies. Avalon Ventures will provide funding of up to $30 million from its recently announced $200 million Fund X. GSK will provide company seed funding, research and development support and success-based preclinical and clinical milestones up to a total of $465 million for ten companies.
Avalon will provide executive leadership and operational management consistent with its current portfolio strategy. GSK will have the option to acquire each company upon the generation of a clinical candidate. Should GSK elect not to exercise this option, company ownership will remain with Avalon, and Avalon will be free to enter into other strategic transactions.
“We are committed to finding creative ways to support academia and the early stage research that is vital to the success of our industry,” said Moncef Slaoui, Chairman, Research & Development, GSK. “This innovative collaboration with Avalon, which has established a robust track record in drug discovery, will benefit not only GSK but the life science industry as a whole and, ultimately, patients.”
While the technologies may come from anywhere, the companies that are created from this collaboration will all be located in San Diego.
“The collaboration between GSK and Avalon Ventures represents a new paradigm for funding early-stage life science companies in which Avalon can continue to pursue its validated approach to company formation and value creation while capitalizing on the drug discovery and development infrastructure of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies,” said Jay Lichter, Managing Director of Avalon Ventures, who directs life science investing for the fund. “I believe that this partnership has the potential to drive the innovation ecosystem and economic growth in Southern California.”
“The initiative is modeled in part on GSK’s successful Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) program, which now has eight projects underway with universities in the US, Canada and the UK,” said Lon Cardon, Senior Vice President, Alternative Discovery & Development, GSK. “We are excited by this new way that pharma and venture capital are collaborating to nurture innovation and look forward to a successful relationship with Avalon Ventures.”
About Avalon Ventures
Avalon Ventures is a venture capital firm that has founded and/or funded more than 100 information technology and life sciences companies. The firm is passionate about backing talented entrepreneurs seeking to build market-leading companies. Throughout the firm’s 30 year tenure, Avalon’s long-standing and successful focus has been on seed and early-stage companies. All Avalon partners are seasoned entrepreneurs with experience in company formation, operations and value creation in the life science and tech sectors. Avalon’s current fund of $200 million, launched in 2012, continues the firm’s tradition of pursuing disruptive ideas in ever changing markets.
Avalon Ventures was advised on the collaboration by the Paul Hastings LLP, and GSK was advised by Sidley Austin LLP.
SOURCE Avalon Ventures