LifeArc Ventures: Strong performance in 2022 & sustained investment in innovation

  • DJS Antibodies – portfolio company acquired by AbbVie for approx. $255 million in cash at closing plus potential future milestones, focused on novel antibodies against difficult-to-drug protein targets in immunology and beyond
  • Ducentis BioTherapeutics – portfolio company acquired by Arcutis Biotherapeutics for up to $400 million, including upfront cash payment of $16 million and Arcutis stock valued at approximately $14 million, recognising the transformational potential of its science and lead pre-clinical asset in development for atopic dermatitis
  • RQ BioTechnology – co-founded portfolio company signed a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca worth up to $157m plus royalties for MAbs to prevent COVID-19 in vulnerable patients
  • Surgery Hero – investment in world’s first digital coaching service for patients preparing for surgery; proceeds to help scale solution in the UK and drive US launch
  • OBN Awards – RQ Bio named Most Impactful UK Deal 2022 and LifeArc named Most Impactful Business Support Organisation

LONDON, UK, 1 February 2023 — LifeArc Ventures, which is committed to investing in innovative early-stage life science companies, today provides an update on its portfolio.

Clare Terlouw, Head of LifeArc Ventures, said: “Our team has had an exceptionally busy and productive year, with two major exits, exciting progress in our portfolio, and new investments expanding our portfolio in HealthTech. We’re looking forward to continuing to identify new opportunities to invest in translational science.

“We pride ourselves on the hands-on support we give our portfolio companies, offering strategic, practical and scientific guidance as well as funding. The exits from DJS Antibodies and Ducentis BioTherapeutics demonstrate the continuing global interest in novel science, and the continued opportunities to invest in great UK based companies. LifeArc Ventures also played a pivotal role in the landmark AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody licensing deal with RQ Bio, a company we co-founded and funded during the pandemic, offering a powerful combination of financial investment, strategic guidance, lab access and antibody expertise.”

The first MAb discovered by RQ Bio has now entered into clinical trials less than 12 months after discovery, with the start of AstraZeneca’s SUPERNOVA Phase I/III trial of AZD5156 (a combination of AZD3152 and cilgavimab) in pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19. AstraZeneca licenced AZD3152 from RQ Bio in May 2022.

Hugo Fry, CEO, RQ Biotechnology, commented: “LifeArc had the vision to co-found and support RQ Bio from the very beginning and as a direct result new innovative antibodies were discovered to potentially protect vulnerable patients from Covid.  In addition, a company was also born that will develop medicines to provide instant and long-lasting protection for vulnerable people at risk of severe disease or death from a multitude of viral infections. Both as major shareholder and a scientific partner, LifeArc continues to support and collaborate with RQ Bio so that the public health, medical and patient impact of our innovation can be maximised.”

With 14 companies in our fast-growing portfolio, our goal is to add at least three new investments every year. The recent addition of Surgery Hero led our expansion into HealthTech – we’re inspired by their vision of significantly improving clinical outcomes and experience for patients undergoing surgery, at the same time as reducing the burden on overwhelmed health systems.

Dr Robbie Huddleston, CMO & Co-Founder, Surgery Hero, added: “We’re truly grateful to LifeArc for the belief they’ve shown in us as investors and the support they’ve been able to offer to date.  The team come with a wealth of experience in the healthcare space and have been a valuable source of counsel as we shape and define company strategy at this important stage of our growth.”

To top a successful year, we are proud that RQ Bio’s agreement with AstraZeneca was named Most Impactful UK Deal at the OBN Awards, and LifeArc was named Most Impactful Business Support Organisation. We believe the award for LifeArc recognises the unique combination of skills and expertise that LifeArc and LifeArc Ventures provide to support and promote life changing science.

LifeArc Ventures is launching a new look and feel. You can now follow us on our dedicated LinkedIn page and Twitter, and on our upcoming new LifeArc Ventures website. We are also planning to host regular podcasts featuring interviews with our portfolio companies, industry leaders, scientists, and investors.

We are working on a number of other exciting investments which you will hear more about in the coming year. We’re focused on being collaborative investors and partners, with the ability to both lead and co-invest in early-stage life science companies. We’re always looking for inspirational, science-led companies and exceptional teams that can benefit from our translational advice, scientific expertise and funding. We’re open to new opportunities and welcome introductions, so please get in touch if you think we can help.

Please visit our new LinkedIn and Twitter which will keep you updated on our news and activities.


Clare Terlouw

Mo PR Advisory
Mo Noonan / Jonathan Birt
Tel: +44 (0) 7876 444977 / 07860 361746