Forbion closes final European life sciences funding round at €360M with help from Eli Lilly

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Using the tailwinds of the pandemic, Forbion has raised a healthy €360 million ($428 million) to invest in a range of late-stage European life sciences companies.

The fund, first launched back in July 2020, has now reached its close at the hard cap, with investors including Pantheon, Eli Lilly, Horizon Therapeutics, the Belgian Growth Fund, New Waves Investments, Wealth Management Partners, KfW Capital and the European Investment Fund.

The so-called Forbion Growth Opportunities Fund I “concentrates on later-stage investments,” the firm said in a statement, “particularly in European biotech companies that develop novel therapies for areas of high medical need.”

The fund is aiming to take leading positions with an investment size of up to €35 million per deal and build up a portfolio of 10 to 12 investments in the “most promising” European late-stage life sciences companies.

It’s already hit the ground running, making three investments: SynOx Therapeutics (in Ireland), New Amsterdam Pharma (from the Netherlands) and Gyroscope Therapeutics (based in the U.K.), the last of which filed for an IPO on the Nasdaq just this week.

“We were very pleased to see Forbion Growth I reach its final close at the hard cap amount, well exceeding our original target size of EUR 250 million,” said Sander Slootweg, managing partner and co-founder of Forbion.

“Since launching the fund, it has become even clearer that this European market segment of late-stage life sciences companies with de-risked assets is rapidly maturing, but remains under-served. Forbion Growth I and its specialized team positions us well to enable the most innovative of these companies to bring new, impactful treatments and therapies to market.”

Rather than hinder funds, the COVID-19 environment in Europe has seen VC records rise consistently. Over the past 18 months, Medicxi raised a €400 million fund in six weeks, having previously taken several months to put its investment vehicles together. Then, in March last year, LSP raised a $600 million fund the VC shop called the largest of its type in Europe.