New life sciences fund announced to spur UAB innovation commercialization

The life sciences fund will focus on development of early-stage UAB technologies and startup companies.
Written by Briana Bryant
Media contact: Jeff Hansen

firstaveThe life sciences fund will focus on development of early-stage UAB technologies and startup companies.Birmingham-based venture capital firm First Avenue Ventures has launched a multimillion-dollar life science fund with a focus on research developed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and announces its first investment, in UAB startup ResBiotic Inc

The First Avenue Ventures Life Sciences Fund I will invest in early-stage drugs, therapies and devices developed at UAB and in Birmingham.

The fund and UAB’s Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will coordinate to drive momentum in the local emerging life science ecosystem.

“First Avenue’s mission is to help grow Birmingham’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Mike Goodrich, First Avenue Ventures founder and fund manager. “Working with UAB allows us to better fulfill this mission of developing Birmingham businesses and building a brighter future for our families and workforce.”

The partnership will spur economic development in Birmingham and advance lifesaving research across the state, further supporting the research, innovation and economic development pillar of UAB’s strategic plan, Forging the Future.

“First Avenue Ventures’ Life Sciences Fund offers a critical resource for early-stage companies in the UAB pipeline,” said Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., executive director of the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and chair of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences in the School of Health Professions. “Having these resources focused on early-stage life science will help bridge the gap for companies spinning out of the lab.”

Saksham Narang, First Avenue Ventures fund manager and former venture adviser at UAB, will serve as the fund’s liaison with the university. “Venture-backed companies bring well-paying jobs, financial opportunities and economic growth to a city. We can share in the prosperity of coastal life science innovation hubs right here in Birmingham.”

First Avenue Ventures recently announced the fund’s first investment in ResBiotic Inc., the flagship company of UAB startup ResBiotech, founded by physician scientist Charitharth Vivek Lal, M.D., an associate professor in the UAB Department of PediatricsDivision of Neonatology. The investment will support the commercialization of probiotics to cure chronic lung disease.  

“With the help of First Avenue Ventures’ Life Sciences Fund and our other investors, ResBiotic is taking a pivotal step toward giving patients and pulmonary specialists science-based solutions to improve lung health,” said Lal, ResBiotic founder, president and CSO. “We appreciate the support and are excited to see a life science fund focused on local research.”

Pediatrics is one of the departments in the UAB Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine

For more information, contact Saksham Narang or visit