Red Tree Venture Capital Announces Closing of $272 Million Inaugural Fund

West Coast-Centric, Early Stage-Biased Venture Capital Firm Focused on Investing in Life Science Innovation Emerging from Premier West Coast Academic and Research Institutions

Led by an Accomplished Team with More than 60 years of Combined Experience Investing in, Founding and Operating Life Science Companies Across Various Stages, Sectors and Therapeutic Areas

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Red Tree Venture Capital (“Red Tree”), a West Coast-centric, early stage-biased life science venture capital firm, today announced a $272 million final close of its inaugural fund, Red Tree Venture Capital Fund I. Red Tree is a San Francisco Bay Area-based life science venture firm focused on investing in innovation emerging from premier West Coast academic and research institutions. The group leverages strong relationships with scientific luminaries and serial entrepreneurs at the region’s leading institutions to source opportunities focused on first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutics addressing significant unmet needs in the areas of oncology, neurology, and immunology. Red Tree has already committed a portion of its new fund to investments in ten companies, each of which is at the forefront of scientific innovation within its field.

Red Tree was founded in 2020 by Heath Lukatch, Ph.D. and Jennifer Cochran, Ph.D., two experienced life science industry veterans with deep connections to West Coast academic and biopharma ecosystems. Throughout their respective careers, Drs. Lukatch and Cochran, along with managing director Jon Edwards, Ph.D., have demonstrated a talent for translating scientific innovation into successful businesses. The firm’s leadership has more than 60 years of combined experience investing in, founding and operating life science companies across various stages, sectors and therapeutic areas. Rounding out the Red Tree founding team is experienced drug developer Krishna Polu, M.D.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our limited partners and the trust they have placed in our team and our vision for Red Tree. We believe that there is a significant untapped opportunity for a venture group focused on sourcing and supporting innovation emerging from premier academic and research institutions on the West Coast,” said Dr. Lukatch, co-founder and managing partner of Red Tree Venture Capital. “Based on our team’s deep experience, successful track record, and unique access to top West Coast talent, Red Tree is well positioned to serve as a partner-of-choice for academic founders and entrepreneurs who are looking to create and build world-class life science companies.”

“Red Tree has already generated momentum launching an exemplary portfolio through investments from our inaugural fund in areas spanning gene editing, cell therapy, bispecific antibodies, oral immunotherapies and non-invasive neural stimulation, among others. We are particularly proud of the fact that more than half of the companies that we have invested in have female founders and/or CEOs,” said Dr. Cochran, co-founder and chief scientific advisor of Red Tree Venture Capital, and professor and chair of the bioengineering department at Stanford University. “We look forward to actively collaborating with our portfolio companies and helping to support the advancement of their transformative science toward the goal of delivering impactful treatments to patients around the world.”

“The West Coast biotech ecosystem, particularly in California, is truly unique and offers some of the most cutting-edge science and vibrant collaboration that I have encountered during my years as a life science investor,” said Dr. Edwards, managing director of Red Tree. “At Red Tree, we feel strongly that there is a key need for more early stage capital working alongside the region’s talented academics and entrepreneurs to support continued efforts to bring innovative medicines to patients. We are proud to have secured the trust of our limited partners in our vision and look forward to building great companies on the West Coast.”

To date, Red Tree’s portfolio includes:

  • Acrigen Biosciences: Developing best-in-class precision gene editing platforms to improve the safety and efficacy of CRISPR therapeutics.
  • Alladapt Immunotherapeutics: Clinical-stage company developing novel oral immunotherapies for treatment of a broad spectrum of food allergies.
  • Ceribell: Revenue-stage company selling the world’s first brain monitor for point-of-care seizure triage and treatment optimization.
  • Excellergy Therapeutics: Developing best-in-class protein therapeutics for rapidly relieving or preventing allergic-mediated diseases.
  • Magnus Medical: Clinical-stage company developing next-generation neuromodulation technology capable of treating depression without pharmaceutical therapies and related side effects.
  • Pipeline Therapeutics: Clinical-stage company developing first-in-class therapies for precision neuroregeneration including myelin restoration, synaptogenesis and axonal repair with applications in hearing loss and multiple sclerosis.
  • Rondo Therapeutics: Developing new class of bispecific antibodies that safely engage the immune system to initiate and sustain a robust anti-tumor response.
  • Sardona Therapeutics: Developing novel small molecule drugs to destroy intractable tumors and transform patient outcomes by targeting RNA regulators.
  • Syncopation Life Sciences: Clinical-stage company developing a new generation of adoptive cell therapies for cancers, with a focus on addressing primary mechanisms of resistance to CAR-T therapies.
  • Virsti Therapeutics: Developing unique tumor-targeted peptide conjugates that selectively kill tumor cells or stimulate the immune system to attack cancer.

The investment approach employed by the Red Tree team is built upon the following four pillars:

  • West Coast-Centric: Focused on investing in life science innovation emerging from premier academic and research institutions on the West Coast of the United States.
  • Early Stage-Biased: Supporting breakthrough science from its very first steps, seeking to create companies or providing funding to established groups at their seed, preclinical or early clinical stages.
  • Best-in-Class and/or First-in-Class Therapeutics: Dedicated to advancing cutting-edge science with the potential to deliver best-in-class and/or first-in-class therapeutics that transform patient lives.
  • Oncology, Neurology & Immunology: Therapeutic focus in the areas of cancer, neurological disease and immunological disease.

The Red Tree team is augmented by a scientific advisory board comprised of academic thought leaders affiliated with the West Coast’s most prestigious institutions. These individuals, who include department chairs, division chiefs and institute heads, are also established entrepreneurs collectively credited with founding more than 25 companies. Further supplementing the firm’s leadership is a team of senior advisors comprised of experienced biopharma executives that provide Red Tree broad expertise across key aspects of the life science industry, including company creation/building, business operations and drug development.

About Red Tree Venture Capital

Red Tree Venture Capital is a West Coast-centric, early stage-biased life science venture capital firm. The firm was founded on the idea that an untapped opportunity exists for a venture capital firm guided by a targeted strategy of leveraging deep relationships with leading West Coast academic and research institutions to source innovation emerging from those organizations. Red Tree Venture Capital has raised an inaugural $272 million fund, Red Tree Venture Capital Fund I, to create and invest in companies developing first-in-class and/or best-in-class therapeutics and technologies in the areas of oncology, neurology and immunology.

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CONTACT: Contacts:

Vida Strategic Partners (on behalf of Red Tree Venture Capital)
Tim Brons

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