Blackstone lands $3.4B life science fund, plots more fundraising

TFT-admin | January 10, 2020

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by Nick Paul Taylor

New fundraising comes in the wake of Blackstone’s acquisition of Clarus. (Blackstone)

Blackstone has raised $3.4 billion for its life science fund. The financing, which could grow by another $1.2 billion, sets Blackstone up to continue placing bets such as its ventures with Novartis and Ferring. 

U.S. private equity firm Blackstone disclosed the funding in a regulatory filing, details of which were reported by Reuters. The filing shows that Blackstone Life Sciences V has pulled in $3.4 billion out of a targeted $4.6 billion so far. Even at the current close, the fund has significant financial firepower, reflecting Blackstone’s interest in getting involved in big, late-phase projects.

Blackstone has revealed the type of biopharma bets it wants to place through its investments so far. Last year, the private equity group teamed up with Novartis to create Anthos Therapeutics, committing $250 million to fund work on a midphase anti-thrombotic. Later in the year, Blackstone put up $400 million to help Ferring-spinout FerGene challenge for the U.S. bladder cancer market. 

The Novartis and Ferring deals came in the wake of Blackstone’s acquisition of Clarus, an investor that helped push late-phase programs to market. Clarus made bigger bets than many life science investors, for example by leading Galera Therapeutics’ $150 million series C, but still lacked the scale to take on the biggest opportunities that came its way.

Selling up to Blackstone has given Clarus that extra scale. At $400 million, Blackstone’s commitment to FerGene amounts to almost 45% of the size of the late-phase fund operated by Clarus. With $3.4 billion in the pot for new investments, Blackstone is positioned to place a series of bets of that size and larger, enabling it to help out biotechs that fly solo deep into the clinic and Big Pharma companies that have more assets than they can manage.