A prominent UK-based biotech fund has reloaded with a $315 million raise for its next round of bets in the field. Abingworth, which has been pursuing a transatlantic strategy aimed at expanding its network of portfolio companies as well as syndicate partners, closed ABV VII with an eye to fueling a slate of new early- to late-stage venture rounds.
Led by Tim Haines and Kurt von Emster, Abingworth has been a keen investor in new technologies. They backed CRISPR Therapeutics, one of the leaders in the emerging gene editing group, while scoring with Wilson Therapeutics — a rare disease specialist bought out by Alexion for $855 million in cash — and Gary Glick’s IFM Therapeutics, which Bristol-Myers paid $300 million for along with $2 billion in milestones less than two years after the A round. IFM had preclinical STING and NLRP3 agonist programs in place, looking at influencing the immune system’s response to cancer.
This round will likely be a significant boost to the UK Golden Triangle crowd, where Abingworth has a particularly high profile after backing rounds for the likes of GammaDelta, which last year landed a $100 million mega-round.
This is Abingworth’s 12th fund, leaving it with $1.2 billion under investment. Their ABV VI attracted $375 million.
Separate from their main funds, Abingworth has also been running a $105 million co-development fund that bets on companies like SFJ and Avillion that run late-stage trials for biopharmas, often under the radar. Some of the big outfits — like Pfizer — turn to these operations when they’re strapped for cash to do everything they would like.
“We believe that Abingworth’s transatlantic presence has contributed significantly to our successful life sciences strategy,” said von Emster, managing partner. “It has increased deal flow and expanded access to markets as well as broadened our network of entrepreneurs, management and investors.”
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