Life sciences venture capital firm RiverVest Venture Partners today announced the closing of Archer Seed Fund, L.P. at $15 million.
Archer will invest modest amounts of pre-seed and seed funding in about 10 early-stage biopharmaceutical companies, according to RiverVest Managing Director John McKearn, Ph.D. The fund’s investment opportunities will be primarily sourced from business incubators or accelerators associated with leading medical research institutions in St. Louis and elsewhere in the Midwest.
Capitalizing on the strong local infrastructure for startup companies, including Cortex Innovation Community and BioGenerator, the early-stage development activities for most of these seed companies are expected to be conducted in St. Louis.
“With top research institutions like Washington University and Saint Louis University, communities dedicated to innovation, and an abundance of skilled talent, St. Louis is a magnificent place to grow early-stage biopharma companies,” said Dr. McKearn. “Archer will not only benefit from St. Louis’ assets, it will also accelerate and contribute to our startup ecosystem.”
Karen Gheesling Mullis, Ph.D., PMP, has been hired as a RiverVest venture partner and serves as president of Archer Seed Partners, LLC, which is the general partner of Archer Seed Fund. Dr. Mullis is tasked with sourcing and conducting due diligence on investment opportunities for the fund and then overseeing the development activities of the companies in which the fund invests.
Previously Dr. Mullis served as director of project management at Pfizer (previously Pharmacia/Monsanto/Searle), where she led the clinical development and registration of several breakthrough therapy cancer drugs.
Dr. Mulllis received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, her B.S. in Chemistry at Emory University and was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
“Archer will accelerate the development of certain local, high-quality, early-stage companies,” said RiverVest Managing Director Jay Schmelter. “Through successful Series A Round syndications co-led by RiverVest, Archer will also foster a self-sustaining local innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the same time, we expect Archer will strengthen the local pool of human capital.”
RiverVest has co-founded and/or seeded a number of life science companies such Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Excaliard Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), Lumena Pharmaceuticals(acquired by Shire), Lutonix (acquired by C.R. Bard), Lyric Pharmaceuticals, and Tioma(formerly Vasculox).