Venture Capital for Breakthrough Therapies
HealthCap was founded 25 years ago. To mark the occasion we would like share some of the stories and learnings showing the impact HealthCap has made during our journey. Since the beginning, our motivation has been to identify innovative ideas and invest in people and companies focused on developing new products that could make a difference to healthcare and society. Our environment is constantly evolving, and by using our past experiences and learnings we can adapt to change and discover new products for the unmet needs of the future. In order to be successful we challenge current medical paradigms to explore new ways of treating – or even curing – diseases, to significantly improve quality of life.
The pace of innovation today is unprecedented, with new technologies emerging continuously, making it possible to tackle diseases that were previously without effective treatment options. Scientific progress also means it is now more possible to tailor medical treatments to individual patients in so-called precision medicine. This new era of targeted therapies is core to our current investment strategy, to support innovations that center on developing the right medicine for the right patient.
We are proud of our achievements over the past 25 years, and we are excited about the next stage of our journey in the years ahead.
Making an Impact
Together with our stakeholders we strive to make a real impact and create a better world. We take pride in collaborating with different groups including investors, the academic community, portfolio companies and patients, as well as other key players in society. Having a responsible and sustainable approach to investment and ownership is our way of creating value for our stakeholders. During the past 25 years HealthCap has actively worked to foster the life science ecosystem both locally and globally. For example, HealthCap is a founding member of SwedenBIO, Forska!Sverige and an active member of Invest Europe. We believe that by working closely with key stakeholders across the life sciences sector we are able to have the greatest impact on advancing science and developing new medicines and solutions that benefit society. Together we can make a difference and create real value by developing solutions for unmet medical needs.
Precision medicine – developing the right medicine for the right patient – is key to our investment strategy. The pace of innovation is rapid, making it possible to better understand diseases and how to develop more effective treatments. This new knowledge shows us that large diseases are composed of many subgroups which need a different treatment approach. Having a good understanding of the underlying disease biology in each patient provides a greater chance to provide a more targeted solution to the problem. Over the years, HealthCap has been at the forefront of backing many precision medicine-focused companies, resulting in a number of important approved precision medicine drugs, including Mepsevii, an enzyme replacement therapy for MPS7 (Ultragenyx), Translarna, the first ever non-sense mutation therapy for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (PTC), and Firazyr, the first treatment for hereditary angioedema (Jerini, Takeda).
HealthCap is a pioneer investor in the field of radiopharmaceuticals. Radiopharmaceuticals is a novel therapeutic modality delivering radioactive atoms directly to the cancer cells. Today it is recognized as effective and safe method of treating cancer and is gaining more and more attention. So far, HealthCap has invested in four radiopharmaceutical companies and has built up a strong center of expertise and understanding in the field. In 2005 HealthCap invested in Algeta, which developed the first marketed alpha-particle emitting radiopharmaceutical cancer treatment Xofigo to approval in 2013. Algeta was acquired by Bayer in 2014 for $2.9 billion. Subsequently, HealthCap has invested in three other radiopharmaceutical-focused companies, Nordic Nanovector, Fusion and Precirix.
It is together that we can create real value and the solutions needed for the future
HealthCap has worked extensively with Wilson Disease over the years. Wilson disease is a devastating genetic disease affecting approximately one in 30,000 people worldwide, corresponding to a prevalence of approximately 10,000 patients in the US and 15,000 patients in the EU. If left untreated, Wilson Disease results in hepatic and neurologic symptoms, which can be fatal and that can only be cured by liver transplantation. In patients with Wilson Disease the normal copper biliary excretion pathway is impaired, leading to excess copper accumulation in the liver and other organs including the central nervous system
In 2011, HealthCap founded Wilson Therapeutics, a company focused on the development of a novel oral copper-protein binding agent with a unique mechanism of action. In 2018, Wilson Therapeutics was acquired by Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $855 million. On the back of the success of Wilson Therapeutics, HealthCap invested in another startup – Vivet Therapeutics – developing a novel investigational gene therapy targeting the underlying mutation causing Wilson Disease, to restore copper metabolism and the liver function. In 2019, Vivet entered an option-based partnership giving Pfizer the right to Vivet following the completion of phase II studies.