AmerisourceBergen launches $150M venture fund for emerging healthcare companies

AmerisourceBergen, one of the top pharmaceutical distributors, is investing $150 million in a corporate venture fund focused on healthcare startups.

The wholesale giant's new VC fund, called AB Health Ventures, will initially look to invest in early to midstage health-related startups both in the U.S. and abroad. The fund will prioritize investments in startups focused on innovation in pharmacy and distribution, clinical development and commercialization of pharmaceuticals, practice solutions for healthcare providers and animal health, executives said in a press release.

“I believe that innovation is the catalyst to sustained progress and change, which is why AmerisourceBergen is committed to taking bold, innovative actions to achieve our purpose and drive long-term growth,” said Steve Collis, chairman, president and CEO of AmerisourceBergen, in a statement.

“Over the years, we have made thoughtful and strategic investments to advance the development and delivery of healthcare, enable access and create even stronger stability across the supply chain. The creation of AB Health Ventures will build on our track record of success as we identify meaningful partnerships that will bring emerging healthcare solutions to market and create healthier futures for all," Collis said.

AB Health Ventures will leverage the company's deep expertise, global footprint and relationships with stakeholders across the pharmaceutical supply chain to add value to entrepreneurs looking for partners to help grow their businesses. AmerisourceBergen will support startups in helping them rapidly prototype solutions, test with pilots and accelerate scale through commercialization, executives said.

“The unprecedented achievements and advancements across the healthcare industry are remarkable and undeniable. AmerisourceBergen is eager to build on this momentum and ultimately accelerate further innovation by working with entrepreneurs who are looking to revolutionize healthcare. With the launch of AB Health Ventures, we can unlock new ideas, generate additional value and put forward potential solutions that will benefit our customers and the patients they ultimately serve,” said Leslie Donato, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at AmerisourceBergen, in a statement.

The company posted $214 billion in revenue in 2021, up 12% from 2020. The company grew its reach in pharmaceutical distribution with its acquisition of Walgreens' Alliance Healthcare last year. AmerisourceBergen shelled out $6.27 billion for the the company, one of Europe's largest drug wholesalers. The deal will grow AmerisourceBergen's distribution network globally.

AmerisourceBergen had made minority investments in healthcare and life sciences startups. Most recently, AmerisourceBergen partnered with TrakCel, a leading innovator of cellular orchestration solutions, and Annexus Health, a healthcare technology company that is enhancing the patient journey by reducing financial and administrative burdens to improve access, speed and adherence.  

Touchdown Ventures, a firm specializing in corporate venture capital, will help manage the AB Health Ventures fund.