Forbion points to high investor demand in €1.3B raise for largest haul yet

If you needed further reassurance that VC investor sentiment in biotech is starting to rebound, look no further than Forbion. The European life-sciences-focused growth fund cited “high demand” from investors after raising 1.35 billion euros ($1.5 billion) across two funds, marking the firm’s largest fundraising to date.

Forbion Ventures Fund VI reached its hard cap of 750 million euros ($820 million), with the money to be used to “build a portfolio of highly impactful therapeutics companies including existing biotechs and new companies (co-) founded by Forbion,” the firm explained in a release April 19.

The fund saw a “strong re-up rate by existing investors” along with bringing a diverse range of new backers on board including Dutch pension funds and Loyola University of Chicago.

Forbion's venture funds have been involved in a portfolio of 30 biotechs, including antibody-drug conjugate developer Pheon Therapeutics, genetic-disease-focused Rectify Pharma and gene-editing-focused Seamless Therapeutics.

The other pot was Forbion’s second growth fund—dubbed Forbion Growth Opportunities Fund II—with a focus on developing novel therapies in areas of high medical need. The fund also hit its hard cap, in this case 600 million euros ($657 million). Eli Lilly, which was involved with the previous growth fund, returned along with other past and new investors.

The latest growth fund, which raised 470 million euros ($514 million) as of June 2022, has already made four investments to date, the firm said.

Forbion’s growth funds have already invested in biotechs ranging from Sweden’s BioInvent, which is focused on immuno-modulatory antibodies for cancer, to Basel, Switzerland-based Noema Pharma, which is working on a clutch of former Roche drugs aimed at central nervous system disorders.

“Achieving the final close of the Forbion Growth Opportunities Fund II at the hard cap highlights the continuing need for investment in late-stage European life sciences companies, a market segment that remains underserved,” managing partner and co-founder Sander Slootweg said in the release.

The close of the Forbion Ventures VI Fund shows "continued investor appetite for our specialist investment strategy", he added. 

The comments echoed sentiments expressed to Fierce Biotech in recent months, as the sector saw the tentative return of funding “megarounds” for the likes of Noema and Rapport Therapeutics. Still, executives from venture capital and biotech incubator firms warned that while series A rounds are an easy sell at the moment, what’s continuing to hamper biotech are the series B, C and crossover rounds that set up an IPO.