Venture Capital Firm Westlake Village BioPartners Raises $500M
Francesca Billington is a dot.LA editorial intern. She's previously reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. Before joining dot.LA, she was a communications fellow at an environmental science research center in Sri Lanka. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.
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.
"Los Angeles is an emerging biotech community that is fresh and exciting, and we are seeing an explosion of new startups in this region," said Westlake's co-founding managing director Beth Seidenberg in a statement.
According to a recent report from Biocom, the nonprofit tracking life science companies across California, L.A. County brought in over $1.1 billion in government funding last year — the most of any county in California. The industry also employed over 93,000 people in the county.
The firm has so far invested in three new companies using that larger fund — a gene therapy startup in San Diego and two L.A. companies.
One of those is ACELYRIN, a biopharma company focused on immunology that today launched with a Series A round backed by Westlake. The funding amount was not disclosed.
More than half of the 11 companies Westlake has invested in or incubated using its first fund, set up in 2018, are L.A.-based.
"We believe technology can come from anywhere, but our preference is to build companies in Los Angeles to help build out a new ecosystem," Seidenberg said. "With these two new funds, we will be managing more early stage venture capital solely from the greater Los Angeles area than any other firm."
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