European biotech fund hits $74M, looks to build on previous successes

The fund is hoping to match its successes with Dezima Pharma and Acerta Pharma.

The third BioGeneration Ventures Fund has gone over its €50 million target and hit €66 million ($74 million) as it attracts new investors.

These new investors include the European Investment Fund, whose cash comes from InnovFin Equity Facility, as well as the Dutch Venture Initiative II.

The BGV focuses on “entrepreneurship and innovation in therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics in Europe,” and its third funding pot has already made a clutch of investments and “expects to make 15 investments in total.”

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These four investments include German I-O biotech Catalym, and Dutch companies Escalier Biosciences, Scenic Biotech and Varmx, working on autoimmune diseases, target discovery and hematology, respectively.

The new investors were attracted into the round by BGV’s first two funds, which notched successes as a founding investor in Netherlands-based CV biotech Dezima Pharma (sold to Amgen in 2015 for $300 million, and potentially $1.25 billion in biobucks) and cancer company Acerta Pharma, which saw a major $4 billion dollar majority share buy from AstraZeneca last year, the largest private exit in Europe in the biotech sector to date.

The group’s third fund will focus on therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics, all within Europe, in particular in Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and Germany, Europe’s largest pharma market.

Edward van Wezel, managing partner at the fund, said, “Our third fund makes BGV amongst the largest life sciences funds dedicated to seed investments in Europe. Over the last decade, we have made over 20 investments in the European life sciences ecosystem. We’ve observed an ever-increasing interest from pharma in acquiring innovations earlier. With this third closing, we are significantly exceeding our target fund size and are delighted with the commitment of EIF and other new and existing investors in BGV III. We expect to reach the maximum fund size of €75 million before the end of 2017.”