Biotechnology center launches $50M investment fund

The Doylestown-based Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center has launched a new funding arm to help its incubator clients and early-stage biosciences companies.

Louis Kassa III, executive vice president and COO of the center, said it has appointed Vladimir Walko as CEO of Hatch Management to lead the investment program, which will be located at the PABC headquarters.

“We’re one of the most successful life-sciences incubators in the U.S. today,” Kassa said, noting there was a need for research funding and in the pharma-belt region spanning suburban Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

“Some of the greatest science minds in science are in this part of the country,” he said. “How can we expedite their science?”

The $50 million fund would provide money to PABC incubator clients to continue and expand their work. It would also provide seed money to pre-incubator-stage startups in its planned BioAccelerator, which will reside on the PABC campus and is scheduled for completion in 2020.

“With Hatch Management, for the first time, PABC is formalizing its investment processes and becoming financially involved with the success of PABC companies in a way that supports their early milestones,” Walko said.

While those investing in the fund would receive returns on their investments in the same way they would with any fund, PABC is a nonprofit, so any money it receives back from its participation in the fund would go towards bioscience research, primarily into Hepatitis C and liver cancer.

Kassa said he expects to do well with the fund.

“We know how to commercialize and spin out success,” he said.

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