Amplitude Venture Capital in Canada plans to announce its launch later today and that it has raised more than half of its debut fund, which is targeted at C$200 ($152 million).
The firm, which was spun out of BDC Capital, will target Canadian companies within the precision medicine sector, which includes targeted therapies, medical imaging, machine learning and AI technologies in healthcare.
“This is where real innovation is occurring,” Partner Dion Madsen told Venture Capital Journal. “Being able to individually diagnose patients is having a tremendous impact on those patient outcomes.”
The firm has already made its first investment, backing Repare Therapeutics, which is developing precision oncology drugs that target specific vulnerabilities of tumor cells. Amplitude participated in the Quebec company’s previous Series A round and its more recent $83 million Series B funding in September. Investors in that round included Cowen Healthcare Investments, Versant Ventures, MPM Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and BDC Capital, among others.
Madsen and fellow founding Partner Jean-François Pariseau told Venture Capital Journal they expect their debut fund will invest in about 14 companies in the precision medicine sector, with most of the deals in the Series A and B stages. They also plan to partner with universities and other centers of academia to help source deals in the sector.
The firm will invest across Canada and has offices in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Madsen and Pariseau wouldn’t discuss details about their fundraising plans, but they acknowledged that they are more than halfway to target and expect to wrap up the remainder of the fund within the next 12 months. Their five disclosed LPs include BDC Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Teralys, Investissement Québec and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
Amplitude was co-created with cornerstone investor BDC Capital. The Amplitude teams includes four people who came over from BDC, including Madsen, Pariseau and Associates Bharat Srinivasa and Allyson Tighe.
The team say they are the only life sciences-focused fund to launch in Canada since 2006, when CTI Life Sciences formed.
At BDC Capital, Amplitude managed a C$270 million healthcare investment portfolio from 2013 to 2018, which included a C$135 million fund to make direct investments in innovative healthcare companies that was formed in late 2013.
They backed such companies as Clementia and Zymeworks, which were acquired, and Milestone Pharmaceuticals and Profound Medical, which went public.
Madsen and Pariseau told VCJ that Clementia was the “largest aggregate exit” at BDC as the company was acquired earlier this year by Ipsen for $1.31 billion. BDC was a seed investor in the company.
Madsen and Pariseau said that altogether the C$135 million fund they managed at BDC resulted in 11 investments, with four exits through IPO (including three on U.S. exchanges) and three others sold. Two companies in that portfolio remain private and the Amplitude team will continue to manage its investments through BDC, which is a longtime growth and private equity investor in Canada.
“They gave us a tremendous opportunity to build out a fund that would invest in next-generation life-science companies,” Pariseau said.
As Amplitude continues to raise its inaugural effort, Madsen and Pariseau say they are already in talks with more LPs, which includes discussions with investors outside of Canada.
“We think our sector focus on precision medicine is an attractive one in Canada,” Madsen said. “There are a number of companies here that provide a compelling opportunity.”