MENLO PARK, Calif., February 16, 2006 – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) – a leader in providing relationship and venture capital SM services to entrepreneurs – announced the formation of a new fund, the KPCB Pandemic and Bio Defense Fund.
The goal of the new $200 million fund is to accelerate innovations for worldwide pandemic preparedness and global health over the next three years, with a focus on surveillance and detection, diagnostics, vaccines and drugs.
“We will invest in companies developing fundamentally new platforms for detection, prevention and treatment of global, pathogenic infectious diseases,” said Brook Byers. “More than 15 million people worldwide die each year from infectious diseases. Over one third of the world’s population lacks access to essential drugs.This new fund addresses the immediate requirement for the science, pharmaceutical, and government sectors to close significant gaps in global public health preparedness.”
John Doerr added, “We will invest to accelerate innovation, and we’re in a hurry. We hope even a mild pandemic never recurs. But we must prepare for the worst. Everyone should have access to these innovations. They must be offered at universally affordable prices to the developing world.”
“We have both an urgent and longterm view of the problem,” said Beth Seidenberg, M.D. “The 1918 pandemic resulted in more American deaths than any other event in our nation’s history. The worldwide effects were even more staggering. Even today, ordinary annual influenza causes half a million deaths a year worldwide. Innovations for pandemic preparedness can help our neglected global public health system address potential pathogenic disease.”
KPCB will work with biotech companies, universities, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies worldwide, and other venture firms to back and encourage innovations in pandemic preparedness. We welcome innovators, investors and other partners to join efforts. The fund’s first investment is in BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCRX), an Alabama company with a portfolio of products in development including Peramivir, an influenza antiviral drug candidate. Dr. Seidenberg has joined its board of directors.
The fund will be managed by the Partners of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The fund’s investors are the same as those in KPCB’s other venture capital funds.
KPCB began investing in and helping build life sciences companies in 1977 when it was the founding investor in Genentech. Since then, the firm and its Partners have backed entrepreneurs in 100 life science companies working in every area of medicine, including cardiology, cancer, neurology, immune system diseases, ophthalmology, and molecular diagnostics.