Investment Philosophy

Access Biotechnology invests in transformative therapies for conditions with high unmet needs and that have the potential to meaningfully impact human health.

Our approach is characterized by the following:

Broad Scope

We invest in both private and public biopharma companies across therapeutic areas, modalities, and development stages – from discovery-stage technology platforms to late-stage clinical programs.

Long-Term Orientation

Free from the constraints of a typical venture fund cycle, we aim to support the growth of our portfolio companies and build our investments over the long haul.

Flexibility

We adapt our approach to the needs of individual opportunities, while continually adjusting to shifts in the external environment.

Technical Rigor

We leverage our medical and scientific backgrounds to evaluate opportunities deeply, thoughtfully, and efficiently.

Collaborative Style

We partner with founders, management, and fellow investors to build and grow companies that are developing important new medicines.

Emphasis on Fundamental Value Creation

We invest in people, data, and innovation, not momentum or hype. We believe that financial returns will parallel the value we create for patients, caregivers, and society.

Team

Liam Ratcliffe

Head of Biotechnology

Liam Ratcliffe joined Access in April 2019 as head of biotechnology. He was previously Managing Director at New Leaf Venture Partners, where he focused on investing in therapeutic and therapeutic platform companies for 10 years. Prior to joining New Leaf, Liam was Senior Vice President and Development Head for Neuroscience, as well as Worldwide Head of Clinical Research and Development at Pfizer, where he spent a total of 12 years. Liam received his medical degree and Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Cape Town and his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. He completed his internal medicine training and fellowship in Immunology at Groote Schuur Hospital and associated teaching hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa.

Dan Becker

Managing Director

Dan Becker joined Access Biotechnology in August 2019. Prior to Access, Dan was a Principal at New Leaf Venture Partners, where he played a key role in multiple private and public biopharma investments, and a Principal in the Health Care practice at the Boston Consulting Group, where he led projects across the health care sector with an emphasis on biopharma R&D. Dan trained clinically in internal medicine and nephrology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, and was a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School. He obtained both his M.D. and Ph.D. (Cellular and Molecular Biology) degrees from the University of Michigan, and received his B.S. in Physiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Christine Borowski

Vice President

Christine Borowski joined Access Biotechnology as a Senior Associate in July 2019.  Prior to that she worked on therapeutics company creation at Apple Tree Partners.  Before becoming an investor, Christine worked as an editor at several high-impact scientific journals, most recently as Chief Editor of Nature Medicine.  She earned a Ph.D. in Immunology at Harvard University, studying thymocyte development in the laboratory of Harald von Boehmer.  Her postdoctoral work in the lab of Albert Bendelac at the University of Chicago focused on natural killer T cell development.

Portfolio Companies

Exited Investments

In the News

STAT

Day One says drug shrinks tumors in common pediatric brain cancer, setting up potential approval

Day One Biopharmaceuticals said Sunday that a targeted therapy shrank tumors by at least 50% in a majority of children with the most common form of pediatric brain cancer, setting up a potential approval in a rare disease long overlooked by drugmakers. The new data expand on earlier results released last year from 22 patients. Of the 69 pediatric low-grade glioma patients now evaluated, 44, or 64%, saw their tumors dwindle to less than half their original size, including three patients whose tumors disappeared. More

Wall Street Journal

Biotech Startup Acelyrin Buys Drugmaker ValenzaBio in Stock Deal

Acelyrin said it acquired privately held ValenzaBio in an all-stock transaction but didn't disclose further financial details of the acquisition. Acelyrin, which disclosed a $300 million venture financing in September led by Access Biotechnology, previously struck a deal with biotech Affibody AB to secure global rights to develop and commercialize a compound, izokibep, except in certain Asian countries. Acelyrin is developing izokibep in clinical trials for conditions including axial spondyloarthritis, a cause of chronic low-back pain; psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis occurring in some people with psoriasis; and hidradenitis suppurativa, an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the exocrine glands, leading to pain, scarring and other symptoms. More

Endpoints News

Verona says second PhIII for COPD drug hits the mark, plans 2023 NDA filing

UK-based biotech Verona Pharma said Tuesday morning that its drug, ensifentrine, passed its second late-stage trial for the common lung disease COPD. In August, Verona reported the drug succeeded in the first of its two Phase III trials. Now, Verona will package together the new trial data in its approval filing to the FDA, which the biotech said will come in the first half of next year. The second trial’s design is similar to the first — 500 patients got ensifentrine as their COPD maintenance treatment, 300 got placebo and all were followed for 24 weeks — but in the second trial, 400 patients were followed for an additional 24 weeks for long-term safety data. More

Fierce Biotech

Takeda bets $4B upfront on Nimbus’ phase 3-ready prospect to challenge Bristol Myers in psoriasis

Nimbus Therapeutics’ midphase psoriasis data have persuaded Takeda that the biotech’s TYK2 inhibitor will be big. How big? $4 billion upfront and more again on the back end. Late last month, Nimbus presented top-line findings from a phase 2b clinical trial of NDI-034858, using the update to repeat its claim that the rival to Bristol Myers Squibb’s Sotyktu has best-in-class potential. The update lacked figures to back up the claim, but Takeda’s decision to bet big on the candidate shortly after the data drop hints at how strong a hand Nimbus is holding. More

Endpoints News

Former Voyager CEO Andre Turenne makes a comeback with Atlas-backed covalent drug biotech 

In February, Endpoints News reported that Turenne had signed on to head a stealth mode Atlas Venture-backed biotech EoCys. After a name change in March, EoCys has evolved into Matchpoint Therapeutics, which is coming out of stealth with a $70 million Series A and a focus on making covalent drugs, or drugs that bind irreversibly. Sanofi Ventures led this round of financing. The Series A comes after Matchpoint raised $30 million in seed funding, led by Atlas and Access Biotechnology, in November of last year. More

Endpoints News

Updated: DICE rolls on as lead oral IL-17 candidate meets proof-of-concept in PhI trial, sending shares higher

DICE Therapeutics is now moving forward on the next stage of clinical development for its IL-17 candidate, on the heels of touting a Phase I win. And investors are responding in kind. DICE reported topline data Tuesday from a Phase I trial enrolling 104 patients — a mix of healthy volunteers and psoriasis patients — testing oral small molecule DC-806, an IL-17 antagonist, and generating safety and pharmacokinetic data. The study was conducted in three different parts: the Phase Ia testing a single ascending dose in 40 patients, a Phase Ib multiple ascending dose phase in 32 patients, and a Phase Ic proof-of-concept test in 32 patients with psoriasis.   More

Wall Street Journal

Immunology-Drug Startup Acelyrin Raises $300 Million for Late-Stage Trials

Drugmaker Acelyrin Inc. has raised $300 million in new venture capital to run late-stage clinical trials of a drug that could treat certain forms of arthritis and other conditions and compete with top-selling medications. New investor Access Biotechnology led this financing for Acelyrin, which has secured more than $550 million in total venture financing. Acelyrin says it has funds to complete clinical trials which could lead to U.S. regulatory approval of its drug, izokibep, in psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis. More

Endpoints News

Nimbus clinches $125M raise via big donor-backed private financing round following Bristol Myers’ TYK2 approval

The computational chemistry biotech, co-founded in 2009 by VC Bruce Booth, announced its most recent financing round Monday worth $125 million — Nimbus’ fifth big financing in the last seven years. The round includes two new investors: Bain Capital Life Sciences and SV Health Investors. Other previous investors tagged along, including Access Biotechnology, Atlas Venture, BVF Partners L.P., Bill Gates, Lightstone Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, RA Capital Management and SR One. More

Endpoints News

Verona’s COPD drug shines in PhIII study, potentially clearing path to FDA — shares jump

UK-based Verona Pharma’s COPD drug, ensifentrine, has succeeded in its Phase III trial, paving the way for a possible FDA approval. In Verona’s Phase III ENHANCE-2 study, roughly 800 patients with moderate to severe COPD received ensifentrine or placebo through a nebulizer twice a day for 24 weeks. At 12 hours post-treatment on week 12, the placebo-corrected change in forced expiratory volume (FEV1) — a standard measure of lung function that tests how much breath one can forcefully exhale in one second — was 94 mL, leading the trial to meet its primary endpoint. More

Endpoints News

No surrender: A group of marquee biotech players bets on the $350M PhIII resurrection story of a heavyweight contender

Anyone reading Biogen’s press release on the flat failure of dexpramipexole in treating ALS couldn’t overlook the note of finality then R&D chief Doug Williams used to mark its grave 10 years ago. The drug failed the primary endpoint. Follow-up analysis left no doubt about the flop. Williams recalls the readout in ALS as “a crushing blow.” And Biogen was done. Dex, though, was not. More

STAT

In early trial, drug shrinks tumors in majority of children with most common form of brain cancer

Day One Biopharmaceuticals reported Sunday that an experimental molecule shrank tumors by at least 50% in a majority of children with the most common form of childhood brain cancer, offering an early but rare glimmer of progress in a disease that has seen little over the last three decades. In the Phase 2 trial, 22 patients ages 3 to 18 with low-grade glioma who had progressed on at least three previous treatments were given a targeted drug called tovorafenib. Of those, 14 — or 64% — saw their tumors wither to less than half their size. Six others had stable disease. More

FierceBiotech

Samantha Truex did a rare thing last time she was CEO: admit defeat. She’s back with a new biotech and $200M

The last time Samantha Truex was CEO of a biotech, she did something rare: She admitted defeat. Quench Bio was wrapping up after a “successful failure” and doing so with money in the bank to hand some capital back to investors. Now, Truex is back at the helm of Upstream Bio, a new inflammatory disease biotech that has been quietly building over the past few months and is ready to reveal today with a whopping $200 million series A financing. That number is near the top in terms of funds raised this year so far, as biotechs take a beating on the market and an industry correction takes place. More