Morgenthaler, ATV vets team up for new $172M early-stage life science venture capital fund

Four general partners from Advanced Technology Ventures‘ and Morgenthaler Ventures‘ life science teams have joined forces to invest up to $172 million in biopharmaceutical and medical device startups. Lightstone Ventures, led by Michael Carusi and Jean George from ATV and Morgenthaler’s Chris Christoffersen and Hank Plain, said today it’s closed its first life science venture […]

Four general partners from Advanced Technology Ventures‘ and Morgenthaler Ventures‘ life science teams have joined forces to invest up to $172 million in biopharmaceutical and medical device startups.

Lightstone Ventures, led by Michael Carusi and Jean George from ATV and Morgenthaler’s Chris Christoffersen and Hank Plain, said today it’s closed its first life science venture capital fund for early-stage companies.

Already the fund has three companies in its portfolio: Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage company developing treatments for inflammatory and metabolic diseases; FIRE1, a stealthy spin-out of medical device incubator The Foundry; and EarLens, which is making an improved hearing device.

Carusi said in a statement that a lively IPO market, improvements at the FDA and interest from large corporate players to invest in and acquire life science companies has created a lot of promise in the sector, making it appealing for investing. Although venture investing in life sciences has been in a slump the past few years, things appear to be looking up. 5AM Ventures, Atlas Venture and OrbiMed are among life science VCs that have closed new funds over the last year.

The general partners say on their website that they have similar styles and strategies and have been involved in some of the largest life-science exits, including Medtronic’s $800 million Ardian buy and Acceleron’s $93 million IPO.

Lightstone was founded in 2012 but has been operating under the radar for the past two years. The firm has offices in Palo Alto, Boston and Boulder.

[Image credit: Lightstone Ventures]