HomeUSABioluminescence Ventures Launches with $477M Assets Under Management

Bioluminescence Ventures Launches with $477M Assets Under Management

Kouki Harasaki, Ph.D., MBA,
Kouki Harasaki, Ph.D., MBA

Bioluminescence Ventures, a San Francisco, CA-based biotech venture firm investing in next-generation medicines, emerged from stealth with $477M in assets under management across two funds: Bioluminescence Ventures Fund I, L.P., and Bioluminescence Ventures Fund II, L.P.

The firm is supported by an investor base that includes U.S. and multinational institutional Limited Partners.

Bioluminescence Ventures, which has invested in multiple U.S. biotech companies to date, will will continue investing in companies that are developing preventative, disease-modifying, and curative treatments for patients with major unmet medical needs.

The firm focuses investments on four areas:

  • Breakthrough Biology,
  • Drug Discovery Platforms,
  • Genetic Medicines Platforms, and
  • Computational Biology Platforms.

Bioluminescence Ventures was conceptualized to finance breakthrough platforms and support mission-driven leaders to develop first-in-class or best-in-class therapies – especially at a time when we are simultaneously experiencing both a golden age of biomedical innovation and the most difficult financing environment in a decade. BLV invests in companies with highly innovative platforms (biological or technological), developing novel therapeutics addressing large patient populations / major unmet medical needs, supported by strong data packages. The firm prefers to lead rounds – working closely with a company’s leadership team to complete diligence, negotiate equitable terms, secure the syndicate, and close the round with speed and efficiency.

Commenting on the launch, Founding and Managing Partner Kouki Harasaki, Ph.D., said: “Innovation never stops, even when financing does. The recent COVID-19 global pandemic proved that the pace of biopharmaceutical innovation is rapidly accelerating. The 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis and the subsequent years of biopharma sector downturn proved that venture firms that continue to invest in breakthrough platforms – especially during financial downturns – can help make a meaningful impact on patients while generating strong financial returns. The best way to help Founders and CEOs right now is to partner with them to secure strong syndicates and close rounds. Post-investment, investors must be able to provide interdisciplinary support – more than ever – to help their companies advance programs through preclinical and clinical milestones in a capital-efficient manner. We are incredibly fortunate to be supported by Limited Partners who have the heart to share our patient-centric mission, the perception to understand the unmet needs we are targeting, the trust in our approach to address them, and the vision to see the potential that will be realized together going forward.”   

Bioluminescence Ventures’ portfolio currently consists of multiple companies including:

  • Ensoma
  • Nido Biosciences
  • ReCode Therapeutics
  • SURGE Therapeutics

Bioluminescence Ventures is currently assembling the venture team with experience across biomedical research, biomedical engineering, translational science, clinical development, and biopharmaceutical M&A and IPO advisory. In addition, the firm has recruited academic and industry advisors. They will announce the initial venture team and advisory board in the coming weeks.

Kouki Harasaki, Ph.D., MBA, has over 20 years of biomedical science experience working across major health systems, research institutes, biopharmaceutical corporations, technology companies, and venture capital firms. Prior to founding Bioluminescence Ventures, he was Managing Director at M12 / Microsoft Ventures, where he led Life Sciences investments and helped develop Microsoft corporate strategy in the field. Before M12, Dr. Harasaki was a senior Partner at Andreessen Horowitz (Bio Fund). Prior to his time in venture, Dr. Harasaki held Drug Discovery, Animal Pharmacology, Strategy, Finance, and Business Development roles at Novartis AG and Baxalta/Shire. He has led over $600M in financing deals that have funded over 25 therapeutics programs across stages (discovery to marketed), across therapeutic areas (CVM, Immunology, Oncology, Neuro/CNS), and across modalities (small molecules, biologics, genome editors, cell therapies). He earned a BA in Molecular/Cell Biology from Cornell University, a PhD in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge (Wellcome Trust Fellow), and an MBA from Harvard Business School (Robert S. Kaplan Fellow).

Dr. Harasaki currently serves on the Boards of ReCode Therapeutics, Ensoma, Nido Biosciences, and SURGE Therapeutics.