De Rothschild raises €345M Europe-skewed life science fund

Edmond De Rothschild Investment Partners has raised €345 million ($430 million) for its latest fund. The haul makes BioDiscovery 5 the largest fund dedicated to biotechs and medical devices in Europe and tees up Edmond De Rothschild to invest in 15 to 17 companies.

Two-thirds of the fund will go to biotech companies with the rest allocated for medical device firms. A similar geographic split is in place. Europe will account for 70% of investments made by the fund. The rest will go to companies based in the U.S. Edmond De Rothschild can invest up to 10% of the cash per company.

The investment criteria are in line with those Edmond De Rothschild used for its earlier funds. But a shift in the balance between public and private biotechs has prompted the fund to tweak its strategy.

“We will remain focused on private companies aiming at achieving efficacy and proof of concept in humans, but given the large number of IPOs over the recent years we believe some interesting [private investments in public equity securities] might happen during the investment period of the new fund,” Gilles Nobécourt, a partner at Edmond De Rothschild, said.

BioDiscovery 5 has already invested in one public biotech, Erytech Pharma. The fund has also placed bets on two private enterprises, Complexa and LogicBio Therapeutics.

The other big changes is the amount of money the fund has to play with. BioDiscovery 4 controlled €192 million ($237 million). That made it 25% larger than BioDiscovery 3. Still, it is dwarfed by BioDiscovery 5, which eased past its initial €250 million target to top out at €345 million.

RELATED: Edmond de Rothschild scores $152M for its fourth biotech fund

Edmond De Rothschild hit that high on the strength of the performance of its earlier funds. Of the 57 companies backed by the first four funds, 16 were acquired and 18 went public. Off-the-shelf CAR-T pioneer Cellectis and two biotechs snapped up by Allergan—Chase Pharmaceuticals and Tobira—are on the fund’s list of exits.

That track record persuaded investors who accounted for 60% of BioDiscovery 4 to invest in the fifth fund. It also enabled Edmond De Rothschild to get funds of funds, insurers and pension funds to commit cash for the first time.

Dialing up the size of the fund is in keeping with the experiences of other European VC shops. Last year, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson helped BioGeneration Ventures to close its third fund 64% above the initial target and Medicxi brought its two-year haul up above $500 million by rolling out a late-stage fund. Back in 2016, Forbion also ratcheted up its financial firepower with a €183 million fund.