Venture fund managed by A.M. Pappas makes first investment

Chiesi Ventures, the corporate venture capital fund formed by an Italian drug company and managed by Durham’s A.M. Pappas & Associates, recently made its first investment.

Chiesi participated in a $21 million round of funding for Aura Biosciences of Cambridge, Mass., which is developing a treatment for rare cancers of the eye. The funding was announced last week.

In conjunction with the funding, Pappas’ founder and CEO, Art Pappas, was named to Aura’s board of directors.

Chiesi Ventures, which is focused on investing in early-stage companies developing treatments for orphan and rare diseases, teamed up with A.M. Pappas last fall. The fund was created by The Chiesi Group, an Italian pharmaceutical company.

A.M. Pappas is managing the fund and also is an investor in the fund.

Art Pappas has said his firm is looking to partner with other corporations or hospital systems to create additional venture funds.