Life science debutant seeks $150m for ‘social justice in healthcare’

New Jersey-based Syridex Bio is financing therapies for diseases that disproportionately affect underserved populations.

An impact life sciences-focused VC firm plans to invest in therapies that address the needs of underserved communities. Syridex Bio is targeting $150 million for its debut fund and expects to reach its first close on $50 million in Q3 2023.

The New Jersey-based VC is a minority-led firm, founded early this year by Squire Servance, which has spent more than a decade working in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

“The main goal of the fund is social justice in healthcare,” Servance told New Private Markets. “Everyone deserves a fair opportunity to live a healthy life. In order to accelerate progress toward health equity, it is increasingly clear that the investor community needs to play a role.”

The firm’s investment focus will be on funding therapies for diseases that disproportionately affect underserved populations including women, ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. It will finance the development and commercialisation of in-development drugs and medical therapies globally that improve health outcomes and reduce disparities for these underrepresented groups.

“We are not investing in a company; we are generally buying a product and building a company around that,” Servance said. “Typically, we’ll acquire the product for an upfront fee and then cover the cost of development, which can be up to $30 million.”

Growing interest in social equity within the life sciences market has created a strong pipeline of investment opportunities, Servance explained: “The last couple of years following the pandemic have exposed the vast healthcare inequities that exist today, and as a result of this, we’re starting to see a surge of pharma companies talk about health inequalities, which is creating more appetite for investment in the space.”

Syridex Bio is in the early stages of fundraising and declined to comment on its LP base at this stage, but Servance told New Private Markets that it expects to secure commitments from a range of institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals, family offices, social impact foundations and pharmaceutical companies.

The VC firm has not closed any deals yet but expects to announce its first investment by early next year.