aMoon Partners, an Israeli life-sciences venture capital firm that is backed by billionaire Marius Nacht, said on Tuesday it has raised $200 million for a new fund out of a targeted total of $500 million.
aMoon II will invest in mid to late-stage life science companies in the field of digital health, medical technologies and biopharmaceutical firms that operate in Israel and in other health-tech hubs globally.
Nacht, considered to be one of the founding fathers of global cybersecurity for his role in founding Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., is a co-founder of the fund. He and entrepreneurs Yair Schindel have set up a team to identify opportunities in a global healthcare market. They have also set up a nonprofit organization that aims to make Israel a global leader on the healthcare map.
The $200 million was raised by the fund in initial investments from strategic and private investors. The final target for the fund is $500 million, Schindel said in a statement.
Venture capital funds globally invested some $4.5 billion in healthcare technologies last year, as of November, according to research firm PitchBook. Health care spending in the world’s major regions is expected to reach $8.7 trillion by 2020, up from $7 trillion in 2015, according to a 2018 report by Deloitte. Tech giants such as Apple Inc., Intel Corp, Facebook and IBM have all started investing in the field, according to New York-based data firm CB Insights.
There are some 1,487 life science companies operating in Israel, which have raised some $13.5 billion in 1997-2017, according to Tel Aviv based IVC Research Center, which tracks Israel’s tech sector.
The first $200 million fund, aMoon I, set up two years ago, invested in early-stage health technologies and life sciences firms, and was backed exclusively by Nacht. aMoon I is invested in 16 startups, including BiondVax, a publicly traded maker of a universal influenza vaccine, and Mapi Pharma, which announced earlier this month a development and commercializing partnership with US pharma giant Mylan for a once-monthly treatment for relapse remitting multiple sclerosis.
Nacht and Schindel hope to bridge a funding gap faced by healthcare companies, as they require a lot of capital to develop their products and also look at significant risks of failure. The advantage of investing in mid- and late-stage companies is that much of the vulnerability is in the past, and there is a shorter time to market and to profitability, the statement said.
The new fund will invest in companies that will be able to integrate digital health advancements such as AI, machine learning, and big data computing into drug and medical device development.
Nacht serves as chairman at Checkpoint, whose 1996 IPO raised $67 million and is the second-largest company in Israel in terms of market capitalization.