Vesalius gets to work on €120M Fund III — expect more on women's health, oncology
Vesalius Biocapital, a European VC player that’s bet alongside the corporate venture arms of Novartis, Novo and Merck KGaA, has closed its third fund with €120 million (about $136 million) to fuel a dozen life sciences companies through later stages of development.
Taking a hint from the $860 million sale of Ogeda to Astellas in 2017 — which managing partner Marc Lohrmann described as a “great exit” after participating in a €16 million Series B — Vesalius is paying particular attention to women’s health deals. That includes a recent investment in Forendo, a Finnish biotech ushering an endometriosis drug through Phase Ib. The Luxembourg-based firm also has a dedicated internal team reviewing oncology projects, Lohrmann told me, as they take up around half of the therapeutic deal flow.
“Other than that we are quite agnostic when it comes to drug development,” he said, adding that they are looking at companies either already in the clinic or almost there.
Drug developers, of course, will only make up about half of the portfolio (10 to 15 over its lifetime) Vesalius is envisioning for its third fund. So far, the group has also invested in a medtech firm focused on 3D-printed orthotics and prosthetics as well as a tech-enabled provider of physical therapy. But Lohrmann suggested that the increased capital — compared to the €78 million second fund — means they can write bigger checks to biotechs to the tune of €10 million per investment, while other sub-sectors get a bit less.
Lohrmann is one of four managing partners for the fund. He and Christian Schneider work from Vesalius’ Munich outpost while Guy Geldhof and Stéphane Verdood man the Brussels office.
With Vesalius Biocapital III the team is keeping a focus on Europe while reserving room for a couple of US wagers with the help of dedicated venture partners. In particular, it’s leaning on Cees Wortel — a Boston-based partner and the closest thing Vesalius has to an East Coast office — to scoop and liaise with the brightest startups in the area.
To Vesalius’ delight, the European Investment Fund came in with a €30 million infusion, joining other new and existing investors.
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