Which VCs are investing in rare diseases?

Steven Loeb · October 23, 2023 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/5745

Firms include Chiesi Ventures, Frazier Healthcare Partners, OrbiMed, and Atlas Venture

In the United States alone 25 million people suffer from rare disease, a number that jumps to 400 million people globally. While 1 in 10 people will suffer from a rare disease at some point in your life, half of all rare diseases don’t have a foundation or research support group.

The problem is that, as the name suggests, these diseases don't affect enough people to make a financial difference, so they're overlooked, but the effect is cumulative, and financially devastating for those who have them, as well as on the system: the cost per patient per year for those with a rare disease ranged from $8,812 to $140,044 for rare diseases patients compared to $5,862 for those without a rare disease.

Thanks to advances in technology, though, it is becoming more viable for companies to focus on these rare diseases. That is most especially true for biotech companies which can use genomics and AI to help develop treatments for these patient. 

Venture investors are also looking at this space, investing $8.8 billion in 106 rare disease focused drug developers in 2021, and $5.2 billion across 71 investments in 2022.

Here are some of the VCs who have invested in rare diseases and their investments:

Logo ChiesiVenturesChiesi Ventures

Description: "Chiesi Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on the area of rare and orphan disorders. Our goal is to complement the strategic interest of the Chiesi Group by investing in early stage development opportunities. Chiesi Ventures also aim to accelerate the expansion of the Chiesi network in EU and the US among universities, venture capital investors, rare disease patient organizations and entrepreneurial companies developing treatments for rare diseases"

Founded: 2014

Fund size: Unknown

Investments: Curasen, Aura Biosciences, Glycomine, Reneo


Description: "Working with entrepreneurs to turn breakthrough science into breakthrough medicine" 

Founded: 1973

Fund size: $2 billion under management 

Investments: Zogenix, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals

Frazier Healthcare Partners


Description: "The Frazier Life Sciences team invests in and builds companies developing and commercializing novel therapeutics"

Founded: 1991

Fund size: $4.8 billion under management

Investments: Amicus Therapeutics, Passage BioOrbiMed

Description: "From biopharmaceuticals to medical devices, digital health, diagnostics, and healthcare services, OrbiMed is scouting the globe for innovations that will help ensure humanity lives healthier, longer, and more productive lives"

Founded: 1989

Fund size: $17 billion under management

Investments: Passage Bio, Disc Medicine, Invitae
Access Biotechnology

Description: "Access Biotechnology invests in transformative therapies for conditions with high unmet needs and that have the potential to meaningfully impact human health" 

Founded: 1986

Fund size: Unknown

Investments: Passage Bio, Disc MedicineBain CapitalBain Capital Life Sciences 

Description: "Bain Capital Life Sciences invests in pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, diagnostic, and life science tool companies across the globe, with a focus on companies that both drive medical innovation across the value chain and enable that innovation to improve the lives of patients with unmet medical needs"

Founded: 2016

Fund size: $180 billion under management

Investments: Disc Medicine, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals
Logos Capital

Description: "Logos, the Greek word for logic and discourse, emphasizes our philosophy of seeking empirical truth and rigorous scientific diligence across our investment endeavors"

Founded: 2019

Fund size: $200 million

Investments: Passage Bio, Dyne Therapeutics
Atlas Venture

Description: "We build breakthrough biotech companies with remarkable life science entrepreneurs"

Founded: 1980

Fund size: $2.2 billion under management 

Investments: Disc Medicine, Dyne Therapeutics
Surveyor Capital 

Description: "Surveyor Capital is a longstanding fundamental equities business at Citadel, established in 2008. Our sector-aligned investment teams conduct deep fundamental research, developing an independent view on the companies they cover. They are specialists in their industries and experts in their coverage, building trusted relationships with many corporate management teams"

Founded: 2008

Fund size: Unknown

Investments: Dyne Therapeutics, RezolutenlvpartnersNew Leaf Venture Partners

Description: "New Leaf Venture Partners believes in leveraging innovation to advance healthcare technology. We invest in great people who are building tomorrow’s leading-edge businesses"

Founded: 2005

Fund size: $605.5 million undermanagement

Investments: Passage Bio, Rallybio, BrightInsight
5AM Ventures5AM Ventures 

Description: "5AM Ventures is a leading venture capital firm focused on building next-generation life science companies capable of delivering outstanding returns to our investors"

Founded: 2002

Fund size: $450 million and $300 million

Investments: Disc Medicine, RallybioCanaan Partners 

Description: "Canaan is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in visionaries with transformative ideas"

Founded: 1987

Fund size: $6.8 billion

Investments: Amicus Therapeutics, RallybioNovo Holdings

Description: "Novo Holdings is a holding and investment company that is responsible for managing the assets and the wealth of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, one of the world’s largest philanthropic enterprise foundations"

Founded: 1999

Fund size: EUR 108 billion under management

Investments: Disc Medicine, MedGenome 

(Image source: news-medical.net)

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes