Life sciences and Deep Tech: The next set of solutions to the next set of problems
By Kiersten Stead, John Hamer, Matt Ocko and Zachary Bogue 08.05.20
Launching our next $350 million fund to tackle trillion-dollar problems with biotechnology
Today we’re excited to announce the close of DCVC Bio II, a $350 million early stage fund raised entirely during the global pandemic and focused on Deep Tech-enabled life sciences companies in human therapeutics, agriculture and industrial biotech.
Since we launched DCVC Bio in 2018, we have invested in companies delivering individualized cell therapy treatments for cancer (Orca), building new living medicines to tackle chronic diseases (Novome), discovering genome-based therapeutic treatments for diseases (Empirico) and revolutionizing antibody discovery processes currently being used to deliver Eli Lilly’s first to clinic COVID-19 therapeutics (AbCellera) - to name just a few.
The triple threat of climate change, an increasing global population and fragile global supply chains for everything from food to industrial materials demands better solutions that are optimized for sustainability, resiliency and human quality of life. DCVC Bio has backed companies that accomplish this seemingly impossible trifecta, whether it is upending global-scale materials industries with both better and more sustainable products (Mycoworks) or significantly increasing the production of healthy food with lower pollution, and helping farmers with labor shortages (Verdant).
These companies are poised to positively change lives and industries around the world, and it is through their successes that we were able to quickly close this fund. We’re lucky to work with a group of Limited Partners - almost all of whom are already supporters of the DCVC fund family - who are strong, long-term partners that share our belief that Deep Tech can dramatically accelerate what is possible in life sciences. At DCVC Bio, we like to say that we’re ‘conviction investors’ - we’re not afraid to back early-stage companies while taking a long-term view on their transformative potential.
COVID-19 and the global race for an effective treatment has put biotechnology at the forefront of public consciousness, and we’ve been encouraged by the renewed interest in promising companies working in this space. While we’re excited the industry is being celebrated, we know from experience that effective problem solving means looking around the corner at what is to come, not investing when it’s too late. We’ve seen this play out with companies like AbCellera, whose focus on pandemic defense laid the foundation years ago for what we now know was an effective response to COVID-19 – and to defeat the next pandemics to come.
With that said, DCVC Bio II won’t be limited to therapeutics. Society is undergoing seismic change on multiple fronts - from climate change, the health of a growing population, and ensuring a resilient food supply - which will each require the same urgency and collective effort in the next decade that COVID demands right now. Harnessing the potential of Deep Tech when applied to the life sciences is critical to getting ahead of these urgent challenges.
To make a difference in solving the next big climate emergency or disruptions to our global food supply, we need to be vigilant looking for solutions to future problems we can support today. Since we started, we’ve had the pleasure of working with a group of founders thinking for the long term and building high-impact solutions to global problems long before they boil over. We look forward to continuing that work with DCVC Bio II.