Forbion closes fourth EU-focused biotech fund at €360M

Sander Slootweg
Sander Slootweg, managing partner at Forbion. (Forbion)

Forbion has closed its fourth fund at €360 million ($417 million). The addition of €90 million since the first close in July means Forbion has pulled in almost twice as much money as it managed for its third fund.

Dutch VC shop Forbion set out to raise €250 million for its fourth fund but found new investors including Pantheon, ASR Insurances, TNO Pension Fund, Formuesforvaltning and KLP particularly receptive to its pitch, enabling it to ease past that target by the time of the first close in July. Since then, Forbion has continued to secure commitments from investors.

The result is Forbion IV, a €360 million fund that dwarfs its €183 million predecessor. The size of the fund reflects the burgeoning reputation Forbion has established since its breakthrough investments in BioVex and Dezima Pharma and the broader surge in biotech investing.

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While the numbers have changed, Forbion is hewing fairly closely to the strategy that delivered its earlier successes. That means European biotechs are in line to receive around four-fifths of the cash, with the rest going into North American startups. And, as before, Forbion will invest in 15 companies. Forbion now has the financial muscle to take big initial stakes of up to 50% in these startups.

Forbion’s ability to take such stakes is a product of both the size of the fund and its willingness to found and co-found startups. Around one-third of the companies backed by the fourth fund will be startups founded or co-founded by Forbion.

Some of the new and established companies backed by Forbion will operate in its traditional areas of focus, such as cardiovascular diseases. However, in keeping with the third fund’s branching out into the CNS field, Forbion is also looking at areas outside of its historic heartlands. The microbiome, epitranscriptomics and gene and cell therapies are all on Forbion’s radar.

Forbion and its backers, which include American institutional investors, are banking that it can hunt out the most promising European players in these and other fields and offer them the one thing they have traditionally lacked: investment.

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