St. Louis VC firm RiverVest closes on $74m second fund

The Missouri biotech-focussed firm has beaten its previous fund by $30m.

St. Louis, Missouri-based venture firm RiverVest Venture Partners has closed its second fund on $75 million (€44 million), beating its previous fund by $30 million.

“There's been tremendous progress in St. Louis [venture activity] in a relatively short period of time,” Thomac Melzer, RiverVest co-founder and managing director, told PEO.

The fund will focuss on early-stage medical device and biopharmaceutical opportunities with a special emphasis on businesses in the Midwest. RiverVest Venture Fund II has already been deployed across six portfolio companies, three of which were co-founded by RiverVest.

RiverVest currently owns stakes in Conforma Theraputics, a San Diego-based biotech company developing cancer-treating drugs, and Auxeris Theraputics, a St. Louis-based biopharmaceutical company developing bone disease medications. Out of the 16 investments in RiverVest Fund I, half were sourced in the Midwest.

RiverVest has also added former Pharmacia executive John McKearn as a general partner. McKearns recently raised more than $150 million in private equity at his San Diego biotech company Kalypsys, according to a company press release.  

Although still trailing their counterparts in the Silicon Valley and New York, St. Louis has witnessed an uptick in recent years in private equity and venture capital activity.

Several indigenous firms have been launched in Missouri over the last few years, including Augury Capital Management, Triathlon Medical Ventures, and Vectis Life Sciences.