May 3, 2012

Which VCs are most active in genomics?

Lots of venture capital firms (VCs) are active in the biotech sector, but are there any that preferentially invest in genomics companies? To find out, I looked at the portfolios of some of the most prominent biotech VCs in the world. The resulting list is below.

Most (12 out of 16) of the VCs on my list currently have at least one investment in a genomics company, but none has more than two. This implies that genomics companies form part of a healthy VC investment portfolio, but that they do not consider it sensible to invest into this area too much.

I can think of two reasons for this: Either VCs consider genomics companies risky compared to other biotechs, or there are not enough promising genomics startups out there to make such a specialisation sensible.

Does anyone have any views on this?

List of venture capital firms, by investments in genomics companies

I downloaded a list of top biotech VCs. Visiting the websites of those firms, I counted the their total number of current investments in the life sciences and healthcare, and the number of those investments that are specifically in companies that are active in genomics. I excluded firms whose main business is drug discovery, even if they use genomics-based approaches, from this definition. Obviously, I could not include investments that the VCs chose not to disclose on their websites either.


  1. Mohr Davidow has investments in a bunch of genomics companies (including a heavy stake in PacBio, and investments in Navigenics, Personalis, RainDance, and several others):

    Abingworth Ventures also has quite a few, I think.

    It would be interesting to go in the opposite direction: start with interesting companies in the space, pull out their investors, and then see which VCs have spent most heavily in genomics.

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for your comment, and especially for pointing out Mohr Davidow. I can't believe I hadn't heard of them before.

      I agree that the approach you suggested - starting with genomics companies and identifying their investors - would be interesting. There is however a data availability problem: Companies often don't advertise their investors, and I don't have a subscription to the relevant database.

  2. Paul KrzyzanowskiMay 9, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    I was recently at the Till & McCullough stem cell meeting in Montreal, where I heard Greg Bonfiglio from Proteus Venture Partners speak.

    They're active in regenerative medicine, so there might be some overlap with genomics companies in their portfolios.

  3. Hello, thanxx for your article which is timely appropriated for me. I'm the founder of Portable Genomics and we are looking for investors who understand the field of genomics but not only.

    It might be the time for investors in genomics to participate to the actual convergence of genomics, personalized medicine and telecom. And even entertainment. There is a bigger picture for the future of genomics, rather than only academic research, where science, medicine and social media meet for larger opportunities as soon as the $100 genome will hit the consumers.

    1. Hi Patrick,

      Thank you for your comment. I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the path ahead for genomics. My best guess is that once NGS becomes cheap and simple enough to be done by hobbyists, the game is going to change completely.

      Best wishes,


  4. Art - we just published this research brief about the flattening of deal growth by venture capitalists in the genomics space.

    Thought you might find it of interest.

    1. Hi Anand, thanks for pointing this out. Would be nice if you could reference my blog post in your article.

  5. Your contents are too straightforward to browse and easy to understand.shailendra singh sequoia india

  6. I was searching for top venture capitalists in NGS space...good i have landed here. Thanks very nice information.