Biotech venture capital firm Atlas Venture has added Novartis and Amgen to its list of partners.
Massachusetts-based Atlas Venture said the two pharma companies will bring a “deep knowledge in pharmaceutical R&D” to support its focus on creating new healthcare start-ups to add to the 350 it has already helped to build.
The deal means both Amgen and Novartis become limited partners of the Atlas IX – a fund from Atlas Venture that aims to form and/or fund 15 new biotech businesses.
Specifically, Atlas Venture said it intends to work with Amgen and Novartis on the co-creation of these life sciences start-ups, as well as the formation of asset-centric development projects and helping in the translation of academic discoveries to healthcare innovations.
The agreement comes with no obligation for either Amgen or Novartis to pursue opportunities, and Atlas Ventures will maintain authority over funding strategy and investment decisions.
"Amgen is very excited to partner with Atlas Venture, one of a small number of venture capital groups that truly focuses on creating value by translating groundbreaking science into new companies," said Dr Sean Harper, executive VP of R&D at Amgen.
Mark Fishman, president of Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), was similarly positive about the agreement.
"This partnership will enable us to help some of the best and the brightest academic scientists and biotech entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground,” he said.
"We look forward to working with the Atlas team to build young start-ups that will hopefully one day lead to the development of new medicines for patients in need.”