VC RiverVest Closes $275 Million Fund to Support Life Sciences Startups

By Mariliana Fotopoulou Friday, March 26, 2021

RiverVest Venture Partners, a prominent venture capital (VC) firm known for backing early-stage biopharma and medical device startups, said it closed “Fund V” with $275 million in capital commitments. With the closing of this fund, the company’s total assets under management (AUM) rose to over $1.6 billion.

A scientist looking through a microscrope in a lab.

Backed Over 50 Life Sciences Startups

Fund V is the company’s largest VC fund, showing significant interest from institutional investors, family offices, and individual investors. The fund’s limited partners feature the majority of big investors from RiverVest’s previous VC funds, as well as a few new institutional backers.

“With RiverVest Venture Fund V, we will continue our investment strategy grounded in close collaboration with entrepreneurs and academic investigators to develop products for the most pressing challenges patients face today,” said Jay Schmelter, co-founder and managing director of the company.

Fund V’s larger size will enable RiverVest to participate more fully in later equity rounds of portfolio companies which have the greatest potential.”

The VC has backed 55 startups over the past 20 years. 18 of those startups have been sold, while eight have gone public, including Allakos, Mirum Pharmaceuticals, and Spruce Biosciences last October.

RiverVest has founded a total of 15 startups to date, with a number of those startups owning technology that comes from academic labs. Startups backed by the VC firm have developed at least 27 commercial products for patient treatment, while many more are currently being developed.

These products include Lokelma, a drug used for treating hyperkalemia (developed by ZS Pharma and commercialized by AstraZeneca three years ago), and medical devices, including the Supera stent for treating peripheral artery disease, which was designed by IDEV Technologies and acquired by Abbott in 2013.

Other products include Vfend for treating fungal infections, Margenza (used for treating breast cancer), Quinsair, Lutonix, and Emblem — a leadless implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, according to the official press release.

“RiverVest approaches each investment in our concentrated portfolio with high conviction. Working as a team, we aggressively identify and create investment opportunities, we are thorough in our due diligence, and we aim to provide our portfolio companies collaborative scientific, operational, financial, and business development expertise,” Schmelter added.

Industry experts are expecting the VC to continue to meet the needs of patients and investors, thanks to its controlled investment strategy. RiverVest became one of the most prominent VCs helping life science companies tackle important unmet needs of patients.

The St. Louis-based company takes a progressive approach in its research and encourages US institutions to invest in biopharma and medical device companies.

VC funding of life sciences startups has been on the rise recently, with the Washington-based biotech startup AbSci raising $125 million in a round led by Casdin Capital and Redmile Group, just a few months after raising $65 million.


A prominent VC RiverVest Venture Partners company said it closed its largest-ever fund named “Fund V,” taking the value of the company’s total assets under management to over $1.6 billion.

About the Author

Headshot of Mariliana Fotopoulou

Mariliana has an MSC in Consumer Analytics and Business Strategy. She has a special interest in fast-moving industries and Big Data.

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