BARDA Ventures is an initiative to redefine how the U.S. Government partners with private sector to advance health security. BARDA Ventures, through a nonprofit partner, will establish a long term health security focused fund to ensure sustained investments in disruptive technologies can better prepare the nation for any health security threat. Through this new program BARDA seeks to build a capability to better utilize venture capital practices to stimulate innovation and promote disruptive technologies aimed at addressing gaps in pandemic response and healthcare preparedness.

21st century threats are complex and unpredictable

BARDA Ventures will help the nation better prepare and respond

  • Enable BARDA to act with speed and flexibility of venture capital

  • Fortify BARDA & USG influence on health security technology development

  • Maximize taxpayer value by reinvesting returns from successful ventures to new investments

“While we tackle the pandemic’s impact, we’re exploring how the U.S. can better prepare for future public health emergencies, whether it’s the next pandemic or a bioterrorism incident,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “The pandemic has demonstrated that the U.S. needs transformative technology that is not only available but also widely accessible. Today we are announcing an innovative, cost-effective approach that puts us on a better path to take on the next public health crisis and improve U.S. health care.”
1 June 2021

Ventures FAQ

A: BARDA Ventures, extends BARDA’s core principle of public-private partnerships to the investment community, creating, for the first time at HHS, a venture-style partnership that can make quick, agile investment decisions and de-risk transformative technologies so that they can be used for health security needs.
A: Venture Capital is a form of private equity based financing (including equity financing, convertible notes, and/or warrants) that invests in innovative promising technology early in development.
A: The Managing Entity is the nonprofit organization that will carry out the objectives of this partnership by sourcing of technologies or companies, implementing management, investment, development, and commercialization strategies with the ultimate goal of impacting the rapid development of treatments, tools, and technologies to enhance and fortify the United States’ preparedness posture against known and unknown threats, including SARS-CoV-2 and future emerging infectious diseases.
A: While the amount of capital being managed and invested by the Venture Capital industry is at an all-time high, there is a noticeable lack of sustained long term investment, from the Venture Capital community, in technologies that can prepare the United States and the world for emerging infectious diseases and broader health security threats.
A: The investments made by the managing entity must fall within the BARDA mission of health security and pandemic preparedness. A Joint Oversight Committee comprised of USG personnel and the Managing Entity and will collectively set the priority for investments in high level terms, and will agree upon technology areas to pursue that are within the BARDA mission space.
A: While the BARDA Ventures concept was originally conceived before COVID-19, it will be positioned to make investments in enabling technologies that have an immediate impact in responding to the current pandemic as well as preparing for future pandemics.
A: The primary goal of BARDA Ventures is to develop successful technologies that increase the US ability to prepare for and quickly respond to health security threats. Secondary goals include increasing the impact of taxpayer investment into the health security ecosystem, and proving investment in health security can generate financial returns for private investors.
A: One of the benefits of using venture capital practices is the ability to crowd in private capital to amplify the impact of tax payer dollars. A goal of the Managing Entity will be to raise additional capital that matched the funding provided by BARDA, these private or corporate investors would the vision and goals of BARDA and their money would be invested alongside funds in every deal. The private investors would not have say over the investment decisions made by the Managing Entity. The managing entity will put in place a detailed conflict of interest plan to avoid organizational or personal conflict of interest within the Managing Entity or with any private investors.
A: Success for the BARDA Ventures partnership means success for the health security mission overall. If a portfolio company succeeds in generating positive gains by bringing a new product to market, goes public, or is acquired by/sold to another company, proceeds from investments made with taxpayer funds will be recycled back to the Managing Entity for additional investments. Thus multiplying and sustaining the impact to the nation by continuously seeking to address emerging threats.
A: BARDA was provided the authority in section 319L of the PHS Act, as amended by the 21st Century Cures Act, 42 USC 247d-7e. “BARDA, may enter into an agreement … with an independent, nonprofit entity to ” achieve the objectives outlined in the solicitation including “the use of strategic venture capital practices and methods.”
A: No. The establishment of BARDA Ventures will provide a new tool for BARDA, HHS, and the USG to supplement current medical countermeasure investments. BARDA Ventures will address gaps in pandemic preparedness and areas within the continuum of response for health security threats which require innovative and entrepreneurial approaches that would not otherwise be considered under traditional medical countermeasure advanced research and development.
A: BARDA Ventures will be operated out of BARDA’s the Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe). DRIVe is the innovation hub for BARDA and coordinates across BARDA programs to share ideas and information as necessary or allowed to support and improve innovation across the whole organization.
A: BARDA has been committed to gathering the necessary market research to successfully execute this partnership and has engaged with potentially interested partners and solicited feedback on development of this partnership from venture capital entities, US government agencies, and other stakeholders. BARDA issued two RFIs, in January and October of 2019, and met with over 60 stakeholders throughout the market research process.
A: BARDA has engaged industry and other government agencies through extensive market research put BARDA ventures in the best place for success. BARDA is confident this solicitation will allow us to find and select a well-qualified partner to successfully carry out this partnership. The oversight and guidance provided by BARDA throughout the partnership will maximize the impact on the BARDA mission and larger health security ecosystem.