The ALS Investment Fund supports and finances biotech companies that develop drugs and diagnostics for the disease ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease). We invest globally, but our focus is on Europe and the US.
ALS is a devastating disease; patients gradually loose their motoric functions until they are completely paralyzed. Average life expectancy after the first symptoms is 3–5 years.
Our vision is that ALS patients will live longer and may even be cured in the long run. It’s a matter of enough resources and the right talent to reach this goal. It has worked in other diseases, so why not here?
Our deeply rooted belief is that entrepreneurship in combination with research will drive innovation. The most efficient and proven model, in which entrepreneurs can strive and are incentivized, is the venture capital model. As we are specialized in one disease, we bring in-depth knowledge and an international network to the table.
The Fund was initiated by 3 Dutch ALS patients and founded with the assistance of a top-5 VC firm (Life Sciences Partners) with offices in Amsterdam, Munich and Boston.
We are a fund with no defined lifetime, investing approx. €30 million in 7–10 early stage technologies and in later development phases, along with other investors.
We seek collaboration with internationally renowned ALS related academia, patients organizations, professors and biotech/pharma professionals.
Did you know that the lifetime chance of getting ALS is 1/400? That means this disease is actually almost as big as MS. Because of a low life expectancy there are only a few patients. The unmet medical need is high as there is only one drug on the market which extents life with approx. 3 months.
The cause of ALS is still unknown. Funding of research has increased significantly, as a result of successful efforts of many foundations and campaigns like the Ice Bucket challenge and the Amsterdam City Swim. Consequently, annual output of research has more than tripled in the last decade, which has led to a greater understanding of the disease pathway and potential strategies for new therapies.
During our involvement new therapies are tested in (clinical) studies. We expect that several promising technologies will enter clinical studies in the next 1-3 years. Portfolio companies are typically exited to big Pharma companies that can roll-out the product on a global scale. There are several big Pharma companies that target neurodegenerative diseases like ALS or rare diseases. Recently the market witnessed success stories of young companies engaged in other rare diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis and Duchenne. We strive to match these successes.
We are entrepreneurs and investors who have been involved in several biotech and pharma companies in the rare disease — and ALS space. We know what it takes to bring technologies to the market and make a return for our investors (social and as well as financial return).
The fund is managed by SUNU Ventures BV, a Dutch limited company.
Life Sciences Partners is supporting the team, but isn’t involved in the final investment decision. Qurit Alliance has supported the launch of the fund and will take one Advisory Board seat to represent the patient’s perspective.
We apply a deal-by-deal structure which allows for lower management fees and capital being committed for a shorter period of time compared to traditional closed end funds.
If you seek a socially sustainable investment as well as a potential return, or a strategic position in a neurodegenerative disease, please consider investing through us. We intend to generate a return comparable to industry standards. However, not all companies are likely to succeed as ALS is a complicated disease and in general the outcome in patients during clinical studies is unpredictable. Investing in multiple consecutive deals will allow for a spread of such risk.