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Westlake Village BioPartners Debuts Funds With $500 Million

Westlake Village BioPartners on Tuesday announced two new funds totaling $500 million to invest in life science startups and construct lab facilities for them.The Westlake Village venture capital firm is working with Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. in Pasadena to build out laboratory and office space in Thousand Oaks for many of its portfolio startups.So far, Alexandria has finished 30,000 square feet of space as part of a 130,000-square-foot, three-building campus in Thousand Oaks, according to Alexandria Chief Executive Joel Marcus. The space currently houses five Westlake startups from its 2018 fund, and will take on two more companies financed by the firm’s latest rounds.“We believe technology can come from anywhere, but our preference is to build companies in Los Angeles to help build out a new ecosystem,” Dr. Beth Seidenberg, co-founding managing director of Westlake Village BioPartners, said in a statement. “We will invest outside of the L.A. area for the right opportunities and look forward to working with entrepreneurs and other life science investors.”The $500 million is broken down into two funds, the first being a $70 million account called Opportunity 1. This fund will invest in later rounds of funding for companies Westlake has already incubated or invested in, the firm said.Westlake Village BioPartners 2 Fund, worth $430 million, will be used to incubate and invest in approximately 12 startup companies, or co-lead Series A financing rounds with other investors. This funding pool may be put toward later rounds of funding for the “most promising of these companies,” Westlake Bio said in a statement.Three companies have already benefitted from the $430 million fund, including immunology-focused Acelyrin, as well as another Los Angeles area-based company working on oncology drugs and a gene therapy startup in San Diego; Westlake declined to name the latter two companies.Acelyrin launched today with an undisclosed Series A financing amount from Westlake Village BioPartners. Founders Bob Carey and Dr. Shao-Lee Lin, former chief business officer and R&D chief of Dublin-based Horizon Therapeutics, respectively, will use their combined expertise to accelerate development of promising clinical-stage immunology drugs.“Acelyrin is poised for rapid growth with financing and infrastructure ready to be activated upon a program acquisition,” Seidenberg said in a statement. “With Shao-Lee and Bob at the helm, I am confident Acelyrin will achieve its goal of building a fully integrated biopharma company with broad research, development and commercialization capabilities.”“We are rapidly moving into what we at Westlake call ‘The Golden Age of Biotechnology’ where the speed of innovation and discoveries is accelerating exponentially,” added Dr. Sean Harper, also co-founding managing director at Westlake. “This exponential growth is presenting many opportunities to develop new medicines, and these additional funds will allow us to harness that innovation to develop therapies for serious diseases.”

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