Third Rock gathers $426M for new biotech investments

Boston-based Third Rock Ventures, one of the busiest and best connected biotech investors in the business, has raised $426 million for its second fund and has officially announced plans for a West Coast office. Former Portola CEO Charles Homcy will take over as the partner in charge of the San Francisco office and Alexis Borisy, who founded CombinatoRx, is being promoted to partner.

"In 2007, we founded Third Rock with a $378 million Fund I, which enabled us to successfully seed, support or launch more than 15 life sciences companies," says Third Rock partner Kevin Starr. "These companies were formed around disruptive areas of science and medicine and many were developed as part of Third Rock's unique company discovery process. We look forward to continuing to partner with entrepreneurs, researchers and company founders to pursue bold ideas and groundbreaking science that promise to dramatically improve the lives of patients."

Third Rock was based in Boston so it could get closely involved in the Beantown development start-ups that it relishes. Agios, Alnara, Eleven Biotherapeutics and Zafgen, to name a few, have all gained support and board members from Third Rock. Now it's taking that same up-close approach to the San Francisco hub.

"Our approach has always been to closely engage and collaborate with experts, academic centers and entrepreneurs, and the West Coast office enables us to extend our reach and maintain this model," says partner Mark Levin, who had been the CEO at Millennium. Third Rock says that its second fund was oversubscribed, a mark of its success during a period when many venture investors have been lying low.

- here's the Third Rock release