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Samsung invests W72b in US fund for AI-driven biotech

July 11, 2024 - 14:59 By Kim Hae-yeon
A Samsung logo flag in front of an office building in southern Seoul (Yonhap)

Samsung C&T and its biotech subsidiaries Samsung Biologics and Samsung Bioepis, announced Thursday they would invest 72 billion won ($52 million) in a US fund focused on startups using AI-based new power drug development platform technologies.

The investment will be made through the Samsung Life Science fund, created by the Samsung affiliates and managed by Samsung Venture Investment.

The money will be invested in venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering's eighth fund, which has so far raised a total of $2.6 billion.

Since its establishment in 2000, Flagship Pioneering has become one of the top three global venture capital firms specializing in biotechnology and life sciences, currently managing operating assets of approximately $14 billion.

The venture capital firm is known for founding and nurturing biotech startups with internal research organizations, having initiated over 100 companies, including Moderna, with some 30 of them going public.

According to industry reports, Flagship Pioneering already has substantial investments in AI, including Generate Biomedicines, which completed the largest funding round for a biotech company last year.

"The successful raising of this fund demonstrates market confidence in Flagship's fund management capabilities even in challenging investment environment," Flagship Pioneering's Asia Pacific Chair Andre Andonian was quoted as saying. "Our eighth fund will be dedicated to launching and nurturing new technology companies, which is a core strength of Flagship."

Samsung plans to obtain information on innovative life science technology companies identified by the VC firm and will evaluate potential additional investments in these companies. The initiative aims to serve as a crucial gateway for discovering new business opportunities in the bio and health care sector.

Previously, in August 2022, the Samsung Life Science fund invested $15 million in companies associated with Flagship Pioneering.

In January, Samsung C&T signed a strategic cooperation business agreement with Flagship Pioneering through investments with its bio business subsidiaries, to strengthen future collaboration.

"Samsung C&T is aiming to secure future growth engines by focusing on eco-friendly energy and bio businesses," Kim Jae-woo, vice president of Samsung C&T's Life Science business, said in a press release.

"The investment in Flagship Pioneering's eighth fund is part of our efforts to discover next-generation technologies in the bio sector. We expect to expand investment opportunities in new Samsung bio ventures by discovering innovative technologies that surpass current diagnostic and treatment methods and future technologies that could transform the world." Kim added.

Meanwhile, Flagship Pioneering is expected to raise additional funds for its eighth fund later this year, aiming to reach a target of $3 billion for the investment vehicle, according to industry reports.