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has been in the single digit percentages. With an early failure strategy, capital is conserved for more successful projects.


You’ve recently opened a new USD-denominated fund, Viva Ventures Biotech Fund, can you share more about this new opportunity? Our first fund was issued in RMB when our investors were from China. For the future, we have continued our investment strategy, but issued a $300 million fund for overseas


Viva Biotech has moved its drug discovery base to China where it has three accelerators as of 2018 and will have more built by 2020. Currently based in Shanghai and Jiaxing, China, each accelerator has 150 scientists and 30,000 sq ft of lab space, undertaking 12 projects per year. This has addressed the “burn rate” as the scientists can live off a third or lower salary with similar quality of life, regardless if they are US, British, or Chinese. Viva Ventures Biotech Fund is able to verify whether the project will be successful or not, much earlier than the common venture capital or private equity firms can. So we are able to invest much earlier, without increasing the risk.


What has been your track record for investment returns? Our investment strategy is to enter early and start to partially exit at the round after the pre- clinical stage. We totally exit if there is merger and acquisition from an Investigational New Drug (IND) application - the first step in the drug review process by the US FDA – or from secondary markets if companies are listed. Analysis by market research consultancy Frost & Sullivan estimates the market average return for investor multiples is 23 times in pre-clinical market capital returns. If they invest in stage one clinical trials the market average is five times. While a few incubated startups have not succeeded, the capital loss from these investments


ISSUE 74 | 2018


deals that require US dollar investment. The fund currently has $150 million in assets, with Viva Ventures or the Mao family contributing $100 million to the fund. Viva Biotech accelerators are planning to house 100 companies at a time, taking on 50 new companies each year, with 50 companies from previous years. Selected companies will stay with us from year one up to year three to assist completing their innovation period from ideas to the pre-clinical stage.


Your family invests significant amounts of its own capital into its funds, why is that important to you? By investing $100 million of our own capital, we combine work for our own investments and offer investment services to other investors at the same time. By offering two-thirds of the fund size to other investors, we can leverage the capital markets for the benefit of biotech and precision drug discovery. This enables more capital to invest in an earlier stage for higher returns. This will produce more top-quality drugs and better diagnostic technology companies for venture funds, private equity, and big pharmaceutical companies to invest in further. While we are excited about this big opportunity, by encouraging more qualified and sophisticated investors into the early stage of drug discovery we are making better drugs faster. That is a great thing for investors and society.


Left: Dr Jun Mao, founder and chairwoman of Viva Ventures


Viva Ventures


vivaventuresbiotech. com


Viva Biotech Shanghai


Headquarters 334 Aidisheng


Rd.,Zhangjiang High- Tech Park,


Shanghai 201203 China


info@vivabiotech. com


Tel: +1 6304323100 (US)


CAMPDENFB.COM 59


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