Amgen Ventures to fund emerging biotech companies

With $100 million in its coffers, Amgen Ventures, a corporate venture capital fund initiated by Amgen Inc. in late 2004, will provide monetary assistance for emerging biotechnology companies that work in Amgen’s areas of interest related to human therapeu

Joanne Friedrick
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.—With $100 million in its coffers, Amgen Ventures, a corporate venture capital fund initiated by Amgen Inc. in late 2004, will provide monetary assistance for emerging biotechnology companies that work in Amgen's areas of interest related to human therapeutics.
 
The fund made its initial investment in Accelerator Corp., a Seattle-based biotechnology investment and development firm that has supported VieVax Corp. and VSLT Corp., which are doing work in vaccine platform technology and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, respectively.
 
Christine Cassiano, senior manager, corporate communications for Amgen, says, "Amgen Ventures intends to target early-stage, science-driven companies with assets in appropriate therapeutic areas or with technologies of interest to Amgen" In the past, she said, Amgen's investments occurred through its licensing outreach progam "and were typically in companies that were in a later stage of their development. Amgen Ventures' investments are in companies that are in a stage of development that is not yet appropriate for that more traditional type of collaboration with Amgen."
 
Managing Director Jay Hagan is overseeing the venture capital fund, which is based in San Diego.
 
Cassiano said there is no timetable for investing the funds, nor will Amgen require a board seat with its investments.
 
"Each investment will be evaluated on its own merit and needs," explained Cassiano. "This decision as to whether or not someone from Amgen Ventures will sit on the board of the portfolio company will depend on the nature of the investment."

Joanne Friedrick

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