First to See the Light

ST Backed Ultra Capital Draws New Capital

OLD GREENWICH, Conn., /PRNewswire/ — Spencer Trask & Co. backed venture Ultra Capital LLC (Ultra), a private equity firm focused on creating sustainable agriculture, energy, waste and water projects at scale, has accepted new investment from Philadelphia-based private equity fund LL Funds. As a result of this transaction, LL Funds is now the anchor equity investor in the next multi-hundred million dollar Ultra fund. Spencer Trask affiliates served as a majority equity investor in Ultra, second only to Tiger Management LLC.

Ultra previously assembled and invested more than $200 million in sustainable infrastructure projects and has a $1.2 billion pipeline. The new capitalization will allow LL Funds and other institutional investors to participate in this pipeline and in future sustainable real asset opportunities created by Ultra.

“Too many renewable initiatives begin with the best of intentions, but lack the financial sophistication to deploy large amounts of capital in a disciplined manner, said Kevin Kimberlin, Chairman of Spencer Trask & Co. and a founding member of Ultra Capital. “Ultra was established to do well by doing good, and it has proven that financially prudent sustainability can be a winning combination.”

Ultra is well positioned to deliver on its promise with the finance industry’s most esteemed investment professionals leading the company. Ultra Directors include Philip Duff who previously served as COO and Managing Director of Tiger Management, CFO of Morgan Stanley and CEO of Front Point Partners; Edward J. Mathias was a founding participant and a director of The Carlyle Group, member of the management committee and a Director of T.Rowe Price Associates, and co-founder of the venture capital firm, New Enterprise Associates.

The Managing Director and Co-CIO of Ultra is Ian Copeland, the former President of Renewable Power at Bechtel Power and Managing Director of Bechtel Enterprises. Joining him is Roberto M. Sella, founder of LL Funds and former Managing Director, Co-Head of Fixed Income, and Portfolio Manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc.

“Local sustainability is the ideal way to efficiently manage water, agriculture, waste and energy resources,” said Kimberlin. I would personally like to thank Roberto and his team at LL for helping Ultra make the world a better place with proven, local, renewable systems.”

The other founding members of Ultra Capital include Andy Klein, co-founder of Skybridge, an alternative asset and hedge fund manager organizer of the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conferences; Roland Van Der Meer, Principal of two sustainable real asset firms, Biological Capital and Equilibrium Capital; and Erik Jansen, the founder and Portfolio Manager of the venture capital division of Pequot Capital.

About Ultra

Ultra Capital finances small to mid-size distributed infrastructure projects in the agriculture, energy, waste, and water sectors. We are committed to delivering value from sustainable real asset projects transparently with a focus on efficiency and reuse. The company is based in San Francisco, California.

About Spencer Trask

Spencer Trask & Co. is a privately held advanced technology development firm that helps entrepreneurs incubate high impact ventures that change the world. The firm has been instrumental in launching companies working in artificial intelligence, genomics, healthcare technology, mobile technology, the Internet and Open Innovation. Please visit for more information.

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Immune Response Corporation

Pioneering vaccines

Revolution in Immunotherapy

DISCOVERY – Non-infectious viral vaccines.

INNOVATOR – In the history of medicine, few figures have had as profound an impact on human health and wellbeing as Dr. Jonas Salk. His polio vaccine breakthrough was the culmination of centuries of research, dating back to Louis Pasteur discovering inoculation. However, Salk’s method was different. He found a way to protect people from viruses without giving them the very disease the vaccine was designed to prevent.

Using this no-infection method, Salk worked with Kevin Kimberlin of Spencer Trask to develop cancer vaccines and an immunotherapeutic to slow or prevent AIDS. They patented and conducted preclinical studies on a cancer vaccine that demonstrated a startling 90% protection against lethal malignancies. 

IMPACT – A fusion of dendritic cells and the cancer antigen, their technology formed the basis for the first FDA-approved cell-based immunotherapy. Over 40,000 men with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer have received the treatment, and it appears especially effective for African-American men who receive a 48% improved survival benefit compared to white men.

The team and facility making this immunotherapy also made clinical and commercial supplies of the first approved gene therapy, the CAT-T drug Kymriah.

The first approved cell-base immunotherapy and gene therapy prompted the FDA Commissioner to say, “New technologies such as gene and cell therapies hold out the potential to transform medicine and create an inflection point in our ability to treat and even cure many intractable illnesses.”

The noninfectious vaccine approach developed by Jonas Salk eliminated polio from the developed countries, his flu vaccine mitigated the effects of influenza for the past 75 years, and finally, the cancer vaccine developed at his Immune Response Corporation led the way to gene, cell-based, and immune therapy innovations that will impact human health for generations. In summary, Salk released the last step in enabling the most important preventative medicine – non-infectious viral vaccination.