Cancer therapy investor Arcus Ventures has raised $36 million in a first close toward a planned second fund of up to $100 million.
The New York-based firm raised its first fund, a $25 million vehicle, in 2007. Since then, it has amassed a portfolio of nine companies. Recent investments include Vascular Pathways, developer of an intravenous catheter; Oncoscope, developer of an optical biopsy device; and T2 Biosystems, developer of biosensor technology for use in diagnostics.
Arcus’ two general partners – James Dougherty and Steven Soignet – will stay on for the second fund. Both partners formerly worked as physicians in New York’s renowned Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Both are also former venture partners at Cross Atlantic Partners, a healthcare and biotechnology private equity investor, and formerly ran a consulting company, The Arcus Group, for financial services and biotech clients.
Dougherty says the firm will invest from early to later stage, but does look for investments where partners think there’s potential for exit within three to five years. For the most part, partners will pursue the same investment strategies with Fund II as with Fund I, but with an eye to branching out in areas that have become increasingly promising recently. In particular, Dougherty says, partners see promise in “personalized oconology opportunities in both the diagnostics space and therapeutics space.”
The firm’s sweet spot is oncology-focused companies developing biopharmaceuticals, new drug delivery platforms and devices. At present, Dougherty says he believes Arcus is “one of the only funds if not the only” firm in the U.S. with a specific focus on venture investment in cancer therapies. Though the firm does not aim for particular size stake in its portfolio companies, Dougherty says, “regardless of the stake we take, we would expect to take a pretty activist role in supporting the company.”
Image courtesy of Arcus Ventures.