For­bion spot­lights late-stage plays, carves out new €250M growth fund

Hav­ing staked its rep on pick­ing out a mix of biotech in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties across the “build,” “en­able,” “growth” con­tin­u­um, For­bion is launch­ing its first fund ded­i­cat­ed to late-stage op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Sander Slootweg

For­bion Growth Op­por­tu­ni­ties Fund’s first close brought in €185 mil­lion ($208 mil­lion). Ex­ist­ing in­vestors Pan­theon, KfW Cap­i­tal and the Eu­ro­pean In­vest­ment Fund came on board, joined by new back­ers Eli Lil­ly, Hori­zon Ther­a­peu­tics, Bel­gian Growth Fund and New Waves In­vest­ments.

While in­vest­ing out of the €360 mil­lion Fund IV, the team ob­served an in­crease in high-qual­i­ty com­pa­nies that are in need of siz­able “growth” cap­i­tal to push in­to the next stage, said Sander Slootweg, man­ag­ing part­ner and co-founder. (Think AM-Phar­ma, Prile­nia and Achilles Ther­a­peu­tics.)

They be­lieve this ap­proach “gives more fo­cus and su­pe­ri­or re­turns com­pared to sim­ply ex­pand­ing the size and fo­cus,” of the suc­ces­sor Fund V, added gen­er­al part­ner Dirk Ker­sten.

Eu­ro­pean phar­ma spin­outs, ma­ture clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment as­sets, crossover fund­ing for a near-term IPO and cap­i­tal in­jec­tions for un­der­val­ued pub­lic com­pa­nies are the kinds of things that would get them ex­cit­ed. Re­gard­less of the spe­cif­ic deal, For­bion Growth will strive to take lead­ing po­si­tions and put in up to €30 mil­lion each.

Dirk Ker­sten

Slootweg and Ker­sten have re­cruit­ed a star-stud­ded ad­vi­so­ry group for some en­tre­pre­neur­ial in­sight, tap­ping the CEOs of some of Eu­rope’s best known biotechs: On­no van de Stolpe of Gala­pa­gos, Jan van de Winkel of Gen­mab, Tim van Hauw­er­meiren of Ar­genx, Wern­er Lan­thaler of Evotec and Maarten de Jong of Moelis & Co.

While the new fund might share sim­i­lar dis­ease in­ter­ests with the main funds — name­ly ar­eas like car­dio­vas­cu­lar, oph­thal­mol­o­gy, der­ma­tol­ogy, spe­cial­ty/hos­pi­tal care where phar­ma is more like­ly to look for com­mer­cial-ready as­sets to buy than de­vel­op some­thing in-house — there will be lit­tle over­lap in what they ul­ti­mate­ly back.

Slootweg breaks it down:

The cut off in terms of de­vel­op­ment stage to de­cide where to al­lo­cate a deal is < phase ii => for­bion 4 and 5 and >phase ii b => for­bion growth. Oth­er cri­te­ria are % own­er­ship, pri­vate vs pub­lic or cross over.

Hav­ing start­ed so­lic­it­ing funds in Feb­ru­ary, he plans to raise €65 mil­lion more by the end of the year, as­sem­bling a port­fo­lio of 8 to 12 with €250 mil­lion to­tal.

5AM Ven­tures: Fu­el­ing the Next Gen­er­a­tion of In­no­va­tors

By RBC Capital Markets
With Andy Schwab, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at 5AM Ventures

Key Points

Prescription Digital Therapeutics, cell therapy technologies, and in silico medicines will be a vital part of future treatment modalities.
Unlocking the potential of the microbiome could be the missing link to better disease diagnosis.
Growing links between academia, industry, and venture capital are spinning out more innovative biotech companies.
Biotech is now seen by investors as a growth space as well as a safe haven, fuelling the recent IPO boom.

Biohaven CEO Vlad Coric (Photo Credit: Andrew Venditti)

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Janet Woodcock and Joshua Sharfstein (AP, Images)

Poll: Should Joshua Sharf­stein or Janet Wood­cock lead the FDA from here?

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Dan Skovronsky, Eli Lilly CSO (Lilly via Facebook)

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'Bluest of blue-chip in­vestors' pump $94M in­to Sekar Kathire­san's quest to bring CRISPR to the heart

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CEO Marshall Fordyce (Vera)

UP­DAT­ED: An am­bi­tious GV-backed gene edit­ing up­start re-emerges as a one-drug kid­ney com­pa­ny

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Those plans, though, would only last a few months. By February, company leadership was already pivoting, filing a trademark and domain name for a new company, called Vera Therapeutics. On Monday, they completed the switch, “launching” with an $80 million Series C round led by Abingworth and plans to focus their efforts on atacicept, a 20-year-old molecule now in development for kidney disease.

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A car­dio­vas­cu­lar cell ther­a­py play­er grabs $54M for a new be­gin­ning — where next-gen CAR-T ap­proach fea­tures promi­nent­ly

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As coro­n­avirus vari­ants trig­ger new alarms, the NIH is putting an un­der-the-radar ‘next-gen’ vac­cine in­to PhI

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