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Alaska Permanent Fund Invests in Cancer Research Startup

Did you know sovereign wealth funds invest in cancer research? On December 4th, Seattle-based Juno Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology startup focused on cancer therapeutics, launched with US$ 120 million in series A funding. It was one of the biggest Series A rounds for biotechnology startups on record. The capital comes from investors including ARCH Venture Partners and CLAlaska LP. ARCH Venture Partners has a deep rooted history with academia, originally spun off from a technology commercialization initiative started by The University of Chicago. CLAlaska LP is a partnership managed by Fort Worth-based Crestline Investors on behalf of the US$ 48 billion Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC).

Co-founder Hans Bishop will lead as CEO of Juno Therapeutics.

Juno Therapeutics three strategic partners are The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. These cancer research centers were once longtime rivals. Juno will focus on reprogramming immune cells called T lymphocytes.

From a Juno press release, Michael Burns, executive director of Alaska Permanent Fund, added, “Juno presents a compelling opportunity to partner with a sophisticated management team and group of world-class research institutions who share our long-term perspective. At a time when public financing for clinical development has largely dried up, the private-sector model is critical to allowing ventures like Juno to push the frontiers of research.”

Co-founder Hans Bishop will lead as CEO of Juno Therapeutics. Previously, he was an executive-in-residence at Warburg Pincus. Before that, Bishop was the chief operating officer of Dendreon, a Seattle-based biotechnology company that develops immunotherapy products used in cancer treatment.

CIC Sells 10% Logicor Stake to Blackstone Fund

The China Investment Corporation (CIC) is selling a 10% stake of in European warehouse firm Logicor Ltd to a real estate fund managed by The Blackstone Group. Furthermore, CIC also hired Blackstone to oversee and manage Logicor’s warehouses and logistic properties portfolio.[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Fintech Affirm Raises $200 Million in Series E Led By Singapore’s GIC

Affirm Inc., a financial technology firm which provides instant loans to consumers as an alternative to credit cards for their online shopping, has raised US$ 200 million in a Series E round lead by Singapore’s GIC Private Limited, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Caffeinated Capital, and Ribbit Capital. The new infusion of capital brings the San Francisco-based company’s total funding to US$ 450 million and a reported valuation of US$ 2 billion.

The company is founded by Max Levchin, a co-founder of PayPal (part of the PayPal mafia, dubbed by the tech press). Max Levchin is also an advisory board member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFSB) in the United States.

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CHANGE: Saudi Arabia to Re-Open Movie Theaters, PIF Inks MoU with AMC

The Saudi Arabian government is ending its 35-year ban on cinemas. Next year, the government will allow cinemas to open. This watershed moment provides opportunities for entertainment companies to invest in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region.

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