Biomatics Capital, a venture capital firm founded by two Seattle investors with close ties to philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, has raised another huge fund to invest in new healthcare and life sciences startups.
The firm’s second fund totals $300 million and will be invested in 15-20 companies developing healthcare innovations. The investments will be in “transformational innovation at the intersection of healthcare and technology,” the company said.
Biomatics also added a notable partner: Dr. Mike Poole, the head of global health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a former neurological executive at AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
Poole will focus on “data- and genomics-enabled approaches to diagnose and treat neurological disorders” in his new role, potentially an indication that the firm is interested in Alzheimer’s work. Poole worked with Bill Gates on his recent support of Alzheimers work.
Errik Anderson, a Boston-based biotech entrepreneur and investor, also joined Biomatics as a new partner. The two new additions are the first partners to join the firm.
“We are at an inflection point today in the development of new therapeutics and diagnostics, with a growing trove of data that will lead to improvements across healthcare, from drug discovery to clinical practice,” Julie Sunderland, the firm’s co-founder and managing partner, said in a press release. Sunderland was the director of program related investments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation prior to co-founding Biomatics.
“With the addition of Mike and Errik, we will continue to combine the best of science with sound investment practice to make inroads into high-need areas of healthcare,” she said.
Sunderland and Dr. Boris Nikolic — formerly Bill Gates’ chief advisor for science and technology — founded the fund in 2016. They both act as managing partners.
Biomatic’s first fund of $200 million resulted in investments in GRAIL — the cancer diagnostic company backed by Bill Gates and Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos — Denali Therapeutics, Verana Health, Aledade, eGenesis, BlackThorn Therapeutics and Omniome.
“We’ve gained incredible momentum in our first couple of years as we’ve seen our investments become a tangible force in moving big ideas closer to the patients who may ultimately benefit,” Nikolic said in a press release.
Biomatics focuses on early-stage funding, although it has also participated in late-stage funding for its portfolio companies. Notably, none of its current portfolio companies are based in the Pacific Northwest, which has traditionally struggled to support a thriving biotechnology startup ecosystem.