ElevateBio said Monday that it has raised $525 million in new venture capital, its largest round yet, in a bid to rapidly grow and advance its multifaceted business.
The Cambridge firm acts as a holding company that incubates, launches, and runs multiple biotech companies focused on cell and gene therapy. ElevateBio also runs what it calls a “BaseCamp” in a 140,000-square-foot mixed-use Waltham building, which serves as the research, development, and manufacturing hub for all of its portfolio companies. Its goal is to provide biotech businesses and researchers an “end-to-end” ecosystem to speed up the development of therapies.
“We think that with this model, we have created an extremely disruptive space that will hopefully accelerate this very promising area of cell and gene therapy . . . better, faster, and cheaper than they are done today,” said David Hallal, ElevateBio’s chief executive, in an interview.
So far, ElevateBio has publicly disclosed the creation of three companies: Cambridge-based AlloVir, which raised $276 million in an initial public offering in July; HighPassBio; and LifeEdit Therapeutics. The company also has a 10-year manufacturing deal with Massachusetts General Hospital, whereby MGH has access to the company’s Waltham hub.
Hallal said the company pursued new funding because “it was time for catalytic capital, so we could really scale and continue to accelerate our progress.”
Hallal said ElevateBio would continue to take “measured bets” on launching more biotech companies, which could either live within the larger organization or spin out as separate firms. He said there is high interest from academic groups, early-stage biotech companies, and larger firms to use its Waltham space, so the company plans on looking for additional facilities.
Waltham’s Matrix Capital Management led the funding round, which attracted new investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Fidelity Management & Research Company. Hallal said the company’s investors have been increasingly looking to back firms at the intersection of technology and life sciences.
ElevateBio raised an initial $150 million when it launched out of stealth in May 2019, and it brought in another $193 million last March. The company has 167 employees and about 50 open positions.
Several biotech executives have told The Boston Globe that despite the pandemic recession, interest from investors in their industry has been at a record high.
January was a more than billion-dollar month for local biotech funding rounds. Two Cambridge biotechs announced large funding hauls: EQRx, which wants to make drug development less expensive, said it raised $500 million, and Tessera Therapeutics, a “gene writing” company, raised more than $230 million.
The same month, Boston precision medicine startup Scorpion Therapeutics said it raised $162 million — just over two months after its $108 million debut round — and Boston cancer drug startup Valo Health raised $190 million.