On this week's episode of LA Venture, hear from Sean Harper, founding managing director of Westlake Village BioPartners, which has two new funds totaling $500 million that's catalyzing the L.A. biotech ecosystem. Harper is the former head of research and development at biopharmaceutical company Amgen. He shares his focus on therapeutics to improve human lives and starting Westlake with Beth Seidenberg.

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Westlake Village BioPartners, the two-year-old Los Angeles venture capital firm investing in life science and therapeutic companies, has raised two new funds totaling $500 million. The announcement Tuesday brings the firm to $820 million in capital to date.

The first fund, called Opportunity 1, carves out $70 million for Westlake to invest Series B or later-stage rounds for companies they incubated or invested in previously.

Meanwhile, Westlake Village BioPartners 2 Fund is a $430 million stash for incubating and investing in about 12 Series A startups. The VC firm will also use that fund for other Series B or late-round investments.

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Last month, Lupe Duarte read an announcement from her colleagues that City of Hope was recruiting for a COVID-19 vaccine trial. The mother of three, who also cares for her infirm parents, volunteered immediately.

This afternoon the 48-year old project manager became the first patient to get a dose of the vaccine developed by a team of researchers at City of Hope.

She's part of the biotech institution's phase 1 trial, which tests a drug's safety typically over one to two years. The process is likely to last just three months as regulators speed up approval to deal with the pandemic. The next stage, expected to span about eight months, would test on more volunteers and further assess safety and efficacy.

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