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Lightstone Ventures Gets the Largest Fund Yet

Lightstone Ventures is back with $375 million to plant a seed in early-stage biotech and medtech businesses, following the exits of Ra Pharmaceuticals, Disarm Therapeutics, and Tizona Therapeutics last year. The nine-year-old venture business has used its pool of funds to power more than 30 upstarts in the health sciences, and this is the largest fund it has ever raised. After raising $172 million in May 2014 and $250 million in September 2017, the firm has raised a total of $850 million since its establishment.

Lightstone funding comes in the midst of a record-breaking year for biotech fundraising, months after another high-profile incubator, Flagship Pioneering, raised $2.2 billion. In the first quarter of this year, biopharmaceutical companies in Boston, where many Lightstone workers work, raised $4.3 billion in venture capital. After a successful 2020 in which many portfolio firms were purchased, fresh hoard of funds will continue to fund biotech and medtech entrepreneurs.

Last October, Eli Lilly paid $135 million up front for neurodegenerative biotech Disarm, and that figure could rise to $1.2 billion if certain marketing objectives are met. Last July, Gilead Sciences spent $300 million to acquire a 49.9% stake in oncology company Tizona. Furthermore, UCB purchased Lightstone portfolio biotech Ra for $2.3 billion in April 2020.

In connection with the Tuesday fundraising, Lightstone recruited two new executives to the team to help mimic previous portfolio exits. Young Kwon, Ph.D., has been designated operating partner, and Christina Isacson, Ph.D., has joined as a partner. Isacson was a co-founder of Magenta Therapeutics and was previously the head of business development at Decibel Therapeutics, Edimer Pharmaceuticals, and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

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