Investing in Biopharma and Medical Devices

We Deliver Consistently Strong Results to Investors

  • Lead financings, including founding companies, and build strong investor syndicates
  • Focus on pre-money valuation and return potential
  • Effectively manage risk, driving high hit rate

We Develop Products to Address Significant Unmet Medical Needs

  • Invest in products (versus platforms) with a known path to clinical approval
  • Place emphasis on demonstrating safety and efficacy in early clinical trials
  • Aim to address pipeline needs of large pharmaceutical and medical device companies
  • Rely on proven investment approaches that have driven past success, while introducing new strategies with significant value-creation potential

We Found and Guide Successful Companies

  • Build high-performance teams, often ones we have worked with before, and boards
  • Collaborate in developing company strategy and operating plans
  • Structure financing terms to position companies for success

We Leverage a Unique Innovation Network

  • Find and cultivate compelling investment opportunities wherever they are
  • Partner with a distinct network of entrepreneurs, investors, and key opinion leaders for deal flow
  • Access global scientific, regulatory, clinical and reimbursement expertise for due diligence
  • Provide geographic diversification for investors

We Maintain a Strong Partnership Built to Last

  • Leverage extensive and complementary skills leading to strong investment decisions
  • Follow a team approach to decision-making and portfolio company oversight

We Are RiverVest

Committed to doing business the right way to deliver the best outcomes for our stakeholders:

  • Patients: We find and fund innovation to address significant unmet medical needs
  • Entrepreneurs: We passionately believe in the teams we support and dedicate ourselves to helping them transform promising technologies into successful therapies
  • Investors: We earn trust by building high-conviction portfolios, managing risk, and maximizing value

61 Investments and 40 Exits

History Timeline

RiverVest Venture Partners was founded in September 2000 to invest nationally in life science companies, with a focus on medical devices and biopharma. Twenty years later, our mission has resulted in 26 commercial products currently treating patients.

  • Tom Melzer and Andy Craig explore feasibility of a St. Louis-based venture capital firm.

  • Jay Schmelter joins effort as co-founder, along with Melzer and Craig.

  • RiverVest is formed and raises Fund I. Fund I portfolio company investments lead to 16 commercial products treating patients to this day.

  • First two investments are made in Salient Surgical (Jay Schmelter co-founder) and CyDex Pharmaceuticals. Deals return a combined 3x invested dollars. Commercial products from both companies have helped millions of patients.

  • RiverVest raises Fund II. Managing Directors John McKearn, Ph.D., and Niall O’Donnell, Ph.D., join and develop a successful biopharma strategy.

  • RiverVest Cleveland office opens.

  • 3×5 Special Opportunity Fund (joint venture with Portland-based Arnerich Massena) launches with a concentrated portfolio of later-stage life science and natural resources investments.

  • Founded by RiverVest, Fund II company Lutonix exits with 8.0x gross return, highest multiple to date.

  • RiverVest Fund III is raised, continuing same successful strategy as Fund II.

  • Sale of portfolio company Lumena Pharmaceuticals to Shire closes, representing firm’s 25th exit.

  • 3×5 RiverVest Fund II launches with same strategy as 3×5 Special Opportunity Fund.

  • RiverVest San Diego office opens. Managing Director Nancy Hong, Ph.D., joins.

  • RiverVest Archer Seed Fund is raised.

  • RiverVest Fund IV is raised.

  • Astra-Zeneca commercializes Lokelma™, the 25th product treating patients originated in a RiverVest portfolio company (ZS Pharma).

  • Portfolio company Allakos completes initial public offering, one of the most successful biotech IPOs in 2018.

  • Managing Director Derek Rapp joins.

  • RiverVest celebrates 20 years investing in medical devices and biopharma.

  • RiverVest Fund V is raised with $275M in commitments.

July 1998
February 2000
September 2000
September 2011
December 2011
June 2014
April 2016
May 2018
July 2018
September 2020

Andy Craig, a RiverVest co-founder and former RiverVest managing director, as well as former chairman of NationsBank and chairman & CEO of Boatmen’s Bancshares, passed away on May 24, 2019. Andy’s high professional standards, caring for others, and decisiveness are important building blocks of RiverVest’s culture, which will serve the firm, its investors, and entrepreneurial partners well for years to come.

RiverVest’s Footprint Increases Its Opportunity Set

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