Dana-Farber Unveils Venture Fund to Aid in Mission to Develop Options for Incurable Cancers

Partner | Cancer Centers | <b>Dana Farber</b>

January 29, 2021 - Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has announced the launch of its first-ever venture fund, Binney Street Capital, LLC.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has announced the launch of its first-ever venture fund, Binney Street Capital, LLC.

Binney Street Capital will aid new research and technology development to further Dana-Farber’s mission of developing treatments for incurable cancers. The primary focus of the fund will be therapeutics, while also considering investments in novel diagnostics, digital health, and services companies. Investments will be directed toward startup companies that are either created with Dana-Farber intellectual property or are cofounded by a Dana-Farber investigator.1

“It’s a fairly new, exciting effort,” said Luba Greenwood, Managing Partner of Binney Street Capital in an interview with OncLive®. There are other types of investors in oncology, but they are not cancer institutes. There are investors that are just venture capital firms. For example, pharma companies have strategic venture arms where they’re investing in oncology. This is actually quite differentiated, really a new model for investment.”

“We can continue to find some really amazing therapies, help them grow, help our scientists start companies in really exciting areas, and then take the money and reinvest it back into the science and help the scientists again,” Greenwood added. “That’s really the ultimate goal, to provide the funding and support to the scientists at Dana-Farber.”

The fund will be helmed by an advisory group of leading investors and industry experts who are dedicated to advancing Dana-Farber’s mission. Plans for the first 3 years include investments in 8 to 10 companies ranging from $250,000 to $2 million.2

“Our goal is really furthering the mission of Dana-Farber,” said Greenwood. “That’s both a short-term goal and a long-term goal. Dana-Farber has 2 parts in this mission: one is to find cures for cancer and the other is to provide the best treatment. For us, consistent with and furthering that mission, we’re looking to support, help start, and seed companies in the cancer and oncology space and in the endocrinology space that are truly finding cures.”

Dana-Farber has previously helped build several cancer-focused biotech companies leveraging research and intellectual property to aid over 50 startups, 11 of which have debuted in the past 3 years. In early 2020, Dana-Farber partnered with health care investment firm MPM Capital to raise $100 million to invest into early-stage biotech companies developing therapeutic cancer technologies. In addition, the 2 partners raised over $26 million through the Dana-Farber Innovations Research Fund, which aimed to support early-stage oncology research at the institute.1,2

“It’s quite unprecedented to have an opportunity to work with the best of the best of both physicians and scientists in cancer. It’s a remarkable, amazing opportunity to work with these people and to drive the science forward,” Greenwood said. “Not just with a concentration in therapeutics, but diagnostics as well, and other areas where we could potentially achieve true innovation for cancer patients.”

References

  1. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute launches investment fund to support startup companies. News release. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. January 14, 2021. Accessed on January 21, 2021. https://www.dana-farber.org/newsroom/news-releases/2021/dana-farber-cancer-institute-launches-investment-fund-to-support-startup-companies/
  2. Bell J. Dana-Farber launches venture fund targeting incurable cancers. BioPharma Dive. January 15, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://www.biopharmadive.com/news/dana-farber-venture-fund-biotechs-cancer/593483/