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Mar 09, 2015
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Column's creations

How The Column Group's long-term strategy yielded three wins

Including milestones, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s takeout of Flexus Biosciences Inc. late last month is enough to return the capital of The Column Group's entire second fund. While it's the third quick exit for TCG, the VC remains focused on creating and building platform companies it intends to hold for the long term.

"We spend very little time looking at existing companies and close to all of our time just starting two to three companies a year around an exciting new area that we think will be a fruitful area to be doing drug discovery in 5-10 years' time," said founder and Managing Partner Peter Svennilson.

The firm likes early stage drug discovery based on "unique scientific platforms with the potential to deliver multiple breakthrough therapeutics," he said.

"Each successful company should be able to return the whole fund, because we only have 8-10 bets," per fund, he added.

TCG closed its first fund with $260 million in 2008 and its second last October with $322 million.

Svennilson said the returns from each of its exits, including the milestones, is enough to cover all the capital of the fund from which it came. Two exits came from the first fund, while the Flexus exit came from its new fund.

TCG has put $15 million into Flexus since its launch less than two years ago and led the company's tranched $25 million series B round last year. BMS is buying the cancer immunotherapy play for up to $1.3 billion, including $800 million up front, in a deal slated to close this month. On the upfront portion of the deal, TCG will see a 14x return, about $208 million; including the milestones, the firm would see over...

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