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Dec. 19, 2018
South Dakota Equity Partners has invested $1.05 million in Sioux Falls-based SAB Biotherapeutics, a biopharmaceutical development company.
The SAB investment is part of the company’s Series A-2 raise, marking the first investment made by the new private equity fund focused on South Dakota growth-stage companies. The investment will boost SAB’s aggressive growth plans and capacity building to accelerate the advancement of the company’s novel immunotherapy platform, both organizations said in a statement.
“SAB Biotherapeutics is an outstanding first investment for SDEP,” said Blaine Crissman, president of South Dakota Equity. “SAB has achieved key milestones, proven a novel technology and production system, developed a robust product pipeline, assembled a strong team and outlined an aggressive plan and timeline for growth.”
Since its founding in 2014, SAB Biotherapeutics has developed immunotherapies against more than a dozen targets, has achieved 100 percent efficacy in pre-clinical testing and completed Phase 1 trials of treatments for emerging infectious diseases, including MERS-CoV and antibiotic resistant bacteria in a first-in-human trial.
“This investment is significant for our company on multiple fronts,” said Eddie J. Sullivan, president and CEO of SAB Biotherapeutics.
“The capital certainly contributes to our capacity-building initiatives; however, we also value the confidence of these experienced investment professionals and the ability to leverage their expertise and contacts as we continue to execute on our growth targets and capital strategy.”
South Dakota Equity Partners is comprised of seasoned institutional investors, including banks, corporations, university foundations, economic development corporations, family offices and individuals. It was created as the result of an initiative started in 2015 by the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development at Gov.Dennis Daugaard’s request to fill a funding gap in equity capital for early and growth-stage companies in South Dakota. The fund held its initial closing in June 2018 and has raised $21 million in committed capital, with a goal of $30 million in total.
“South Dakota Equity Partners will invest in companies with significant growth opportunities, and we’ll work with our portfolio companies to build them into industry leaders here in South Dakota,” Crissman said.
The fund is targeting knowledge-based and technology-enabled businesses with exceptional management teams, he said.
“SAB fits our investment strategy of balancing company and industry risk with commensurate potential returns to our investors,” Crissman said. “This investment also represents the type of economic development and societal impact that are central to our vision for South Dakota Equity Partners.”
SAB is focused on building capacity, has integrated and expanded operations with its new production pharm near Canton, more than doubled its staff and late last month broke ground on its new company headquarters and commercial-scale cGMP manufacturing facility to anchor the new USD Discovery District innovation community.
“Our goal is to grow SAB Biotherapeutics into a global leader in the development and production of targeted human immunotherapies and catalyze a vibrant biotech industry in South Dakota, while making a positive impact on human health,” Sullivan said.
SAB’s immunotherapy platform is the only one in the world to produce human polyclonal antibodies — the natural way to fight disease — on a commercial scale without using humans. Near-term immunotherapies target cancer, influenza and type 1 diabetes.
“We have strong interest from other companies seeking patient growth capital and value-added investors, and are building a strong pipeline,” Crissman said.
Market sectors of interest to South Dakota Equity Partners include biotech, agriculture and financial technology, software and rapid-growing niche manufacturers. The fund also will invest equity in earlier stage to more established middle-market companies with a goal to diversify its portfolio across industries and investment stages.
“We’re talking with more than 10 businesses about potential investment and will continue to travel throughout the state meeting with attorneys, accountants, bankers and economic development teams to educate the market on our investment strategy,” Crissman said. “We’re focused on building the fund and building the brand.”
South Dakota Equity Partners has its first investment: A homegrown biotech company with big promise.