IRVINE and SAN DIEGO, Calif. –(August 3, 2023)–Tech Coast Angels (TCA) and NuFund Venture Group (formerly TCA-San Diego) today announced that portfolio company DTx Pharma was acquired by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis in July. The Novartis deal has a potential value of $1 billion: $500 million was paid upon closing, with an additional $500 million if certain drug development milestones are achieved over the next several years. NuFund led the 2018 and 2019 investment rounds, which included members from all TCA networks.
DTx Pharma’s core technology is a novel approach that allows delivery of a class of precision medicines (siRNA) to cells and tissues throughout the body. siRNA’s target individual genes and reduce their activity—but widespread adoption of the approach was hampered by difficulty of getting the drug into diseased cells and tissues. DTx Pharma’s co-founder and CEO, Artie Suckow, had an idea of how to solve the delivery problem—and started the company in 2017 to test the concept. Early investors in DTx Pharma who participated in the initial convertible note or the series A rounds realized initial cash returns of between 6 – 9x have the potential to realize returns of up to 18x if development milestones are achieved. TCA invested over $2.5 million in funding in DTx Pharma, an amount exceeded by only 12 of TCA’s 525 portfolio companies in the angel network’s history. In addition to direct investment by members, two of TCA’s annual funds invested in the company, resulting in a large number of TCA members participating in the outcome.
Dean Rosenberg (past president of NuFund (formerly TCA-San Diego)), was deal co-lead and saw the benefits and potential in DTx Pharma’s unique drug delivery platform, which surmounts some of the obstacles of previous RNA-based delivery systems: “We are happy to have played a small part in the early innings. So cool to see another meaningful life science exit here in San Diego, and the patient benefits and economic impact it will provide.”
\Jeff Friedman, past chairman of life sciences at TCA-San Diego (now NuFund) identified DTx Pharma’s innovativeness at an early stage. He saw the potential and brought it to NuFund (TCA-San Diego at that time). Jeff was not only the lead investor at that time, he also rolled up his sleeves and joined DTx as COO for a couple of years, providing input and support to Artie and his young, hardworking and growing team. “Artie has an incredible work ethic, and repeatedly showed excellent judgement as he built out his team and set the scientific direction for DTx. It is really an amazing accomplishment for a first-time CEO” said Friedman. In this time, DTx Pharma transitioned into a full-fledged biotech company after several funding rounds, leveraging its unique delivery system for nucleic acids, and leading to the $1 billion acquisition by Novartis.
Current TCA chairman David Friedman commented, “This is an excellent example of our value as angel investors — where our members not only invest but also get involved and add value with their expertise to help build a great company that is changing our world for the better.”
About Tech Coast Angels:
Founded in 1997, Tech Coast Angels (TCA) has invested more than $270 million in more than 525 companies and has helped attract more than $2.2 billion in additional capital/follow-on rounds. One of the largest and most active angel investor groups in the nation, TCA has steadily remained one of the top three angel groups nationally–in number of funded deals, amounts invested in those companies, and number of members–for over two decades. From 2019 – 2022, TCA invested $15 – 21 million in 40 – 55 companies each year.
The Tech Coast Angels network is comprised of more than 400 members within five networks: TCA Los Angeles, TCA Orange County, TCA Inland Empire, and licensees including Pasadena Angels and MEDA Angels. TCA is a leading source of funding for seed-stage and early-stage companies, and its members are founders and business leaders, all accredited investors with extensive knowledge of the investment process and world-class business practices. That real-world experience allows TCA members to provide companies with benefits beyond capital: counsel, mentoring, board advisors, and access to an extensive network of investors and other resources. Connect with Tech Coast Angels on its website, and Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
About NuFund Venture Group (formerly Tech Coast Angels-San Diego)
NuFund Venture Group is a new wave of angel investors with a new fund model investing in new technology leaders. NuFund, formerly known as Tech Coast Angels – San Diego (TCA – SD), is one of the largest, most active, and most successful early-stage investor groups over the past 20+ years. We represent diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and work together to foster a culture of excellence, respect, innovation, and fun. Connect with NuFund Venture Group on its website, and Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.