How Does Atlas Venture Build Breakthrough Biotech Companies?

How Does Atlas Venture Build Breakthrough Biotech Companies?

Finding the first source of financing is one of the biggest obstacles when developing innovative technology. This is an especially critical issue for companies involved in biotechnology and healthcare innovation.

Life science researchers and entrepreneurs need venture capital firms, like Atlas Venture, to identify the vision and potential of their innovations.

Atlas Venture is a biotech venture capital firm founded in 1980 by Michiel de Haan as a subsidiary of NMB Bank in the Netherlands. The company spun off from NMB Bank in 1987, taking the name Atlas Venture.

In 1990, it diversified its venture capital funds to include life sciences and technology in its investment strategies. These sectors were eventually separated into two different firms, with their headquarters located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Atlas Venture is committed to investing in innovative pharma and biotech startups. The firm focuses on finding and funding remarkable entrepreneurs with experience in research, business, and clinical development––all of which are necessary tenets for building a breakthrough biotech company.

The team working on the growth and development at Atlas Venture includes talented people with expertise in diverse areas, including science, business, research, and investments. Some of the key team members of the company are:

  • Bruce Booth, DPhil: He is a venture partner, serving either as an advisor or board member. He focuses on the research, discovery, and development of platforms for medicine and therapeutics.
  • David Grayzel: He is a venture partner at Atlas Venture, who’s committed to investments in novel therapeutics, especially those focused on human clinical testing. He is also the co-founder and founding board member of different companies.
  • Jason Rhodes: He is a venture partner who serves as founding CEO and board member of different startups. He focuses on the development of novel therapeutic companies at Atlas Venture.
  • Jean-Francois Formela: As one of the partners of Atlas Venture, he is involved in creating novel drug discovery and therapeutic approaches.
  • Kevin Bitterman, Ph.D.: He serves as founding CEO and board member of a few startups funded through Atlas Venture. He is one of the firm’s partners, playing a critical role in building new companies that translate novel science into innovative medicine.
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The Atlas Venture Investment Approach

Atlas is a diverse team of people from different backgrounds. Together, they all work towards the singular goal of building breakthrough biotech companies. Utilizing their versatile expertise, the group fosters diversity in their portfolio companies and the broader biotech community.

The company’s investment approach is a four-step process, which helps scientists and businesses achieve their full potential. The four steps are briefly summarized below:

  1. Discover: Identify the novel idea and scientific innovation that’s capable of having a significant impact.
  2. Derisk: Guide clinical translation by validating and developing the science and technology.  
  3. Shape: Create the right business model and strategy for every opportunity.
  4. Strengthen: Position companies for the successful development of novel drugs and their introduction into the global market.

Atlas Venture’s Portfolio Companies

Atlas Venture has invested in and built partnerships with many innovative pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare companies. Their portfolio involves a spectrum of investment strategies that range from products centered around assets to large drug discovery platforms.

These portfolio companies can be sorted out based on therapeutic areas such as cell therapy, oncology, autoimmunity, novel modality, gene therapy, anti-infective, hematology, ophthalmology, and more.

Some of its portfolio companies include:

  • Obsidian Therapeutics: This biotech company is committed to developing next-generation cell and gene therapies. Its proprietary cytoDRiVETM platform harnesses the power of proteins by precisely controlling their level and activity to effectively treat life-threatening diseases, such as cancer.  
  • Dyne Therapeutics: It is a leading provider of innovative life-transforming targeted therapies for genetically-derived muscle diseases. Their proprietary FORCETM platform develops oligonucleotide therapeutics and can precisely deliver them to muscle tissues, including smooth, cardiac, and skeletal muscles, to stop or reverse the disease progression. Dyne’s current focus includes developing therapies for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).  
  • Cadent Therapeutics: This biotech company focuses on developing and delivering innovative therapies and medicines to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions. Its first-of-its-kind approach allows rewiring of the brain, bringing harmony to neural rhythms. The company is rapidly advancing its therapeutic approaches, involving allosteric modulators of ion channels. In 2020, it was acquired by Novartis for up to $770 million.
  • Q32 Bio: This biotech company is involved in developing powerful therapies to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Its therapies target innate and adaptive immunity regulators—mainly the IL7 pathway and complement system—that restore and rebalance the immune system, ultimately curing diseases.
  • Translate Bio: This pharmaceutical company utilizes mRNA therapeutics to develop transformative medicine to prevent and treat life-threatening genetic diseases. Its therapies work to repair protein or gene dysfunctions, which cause harm to organs, including the lung, liver, and central nervous system.
  • deCODE genetics: This biopharmaceutical company focuses on the generation, analysis, and understanding of the human genome for large-scale studies of common diseases. It’s involved in discovering genetic risk factors causing diseases such as asthma, strokes, cancer, and heart attacks. It works to detect, diagnose, prevent, and treat these diseases. Their initial public offering (IPO) was in 2018, and Amgen acquired it in 2012.

If you’re interested in learning more about Atlas Venture’s investment strategies and portfolio companies, please visit www.atlasventure.com.

Attract Investors with Excedr

Atlas Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm dedicated to discovering and developing groundbreaking biotech and biopharma companies. It partners with entrepreneurs and scientists working on innovative therapeutics and medicines for the treatment of fatal diseases.

The company’s four-step approach for investing in breakthrough companies includes: discover, derisk, shape, and strengthen. This approach enables them to bring novel-therapeutic science from the lab to the market environment with effective treatment methods.

Of course, attracting investors like Atlas Venture is not easy. It requires initial data representation and experiments to prove the significance and potential of your ideas.

Excedr helps scientists outfit their labs with the high-tech equipment required to validate experiment performance, obtain data, and showcase results. Leasing with us offers the benefit of avoiding substantial upfront costs that are typical when purchasing lab equipment outright.

Our leasing program has helped researchers nationwide achieve efficiency, quality, and full operational capacity in the lab.   Don’t have the budget to purchase lab equipment outright? Consider leasing through Excedr to save your lab time and money. Browse your leasing options today!