SOSV launches life sciences incubator in NY with emphasis on therapeutics

The new incubator comes on the heels of SOSV raising $277 mln for its fourth fund. Founder Sean O’Sullivan says the firm is "doubling down on life sciences."

SOSV, a venture firm that operates accelerators focused on life sciences and hardware, announced it is launching a new program in Manhattan called IndieBio New York that aims to replicate on the East Coast what its San Francisco operation has done on the West Coast.

SOSV, which in December raised $277 million for its fourth fund, launched its life sciences accelerator in 2014. The firm says that in the past five years it has backed nearly 200 life science startups, having raised more than $700 million in funding, and which combined have a valuation of more than $3 billion.

In the life sciences arena, SOSV invests in human and planetary health, including plant-based foods, cellular agriculture, computational biology and regenerative medicine. The IndieBio New York program will expand the therapeutics funding track in particular.

The IndieBio program has previously included such startups as Memphis Meats (cellular agriculture), Prellis Biologics (human tissue engineering), Synthex (cancer therapeutics), NotCo (plant-based animal-free food products) and Perfect Day (milk without the cow).

SOSV says it was the initial investor in Jungla, an AI-driven genomics company, which was acquired in July 2019 by Invitae. Jungla, from South San Francisco, was also backed by Andreessen Horowitz, and sold for up to $65 million.

SOSV, named after founder and Managing General Partner Sean O’Sullivan, says it backs from 20 to 30 life science startups every year in their program with $250,000 for each in exchange for a small equity position in the teams. With the launch of IndieBio New York, SOSV will double the number of startups funded and will also trial a therapeutics track that will fund up to $2 million per startup accepted into the program.

The New York program, which is accepting applications from startups, will begin in April 2020.