Burrill & Co. boosts latest life sciences fund to $505M

As many venture firms struggle to restock their coffers, Burrill & Company has come through with a second closing of its latest fund. The San Francisco-based firm says that "aggregate capital commitments" now total $505 million. And the financial services outfit is looking to spread its bets with the fund across a variety of sectors within healthcare and life sciences, including therapeutics, diagnostics and devices.

The venture capital industry has come under siege because many firms have failed to hit their targets on the fundraising trail. However, a select group of favored firms such as New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and now Burrill & Company has managed to woo limited partners to fuel their latest funds in recent months. NEA made headlines for raising a historic $2.6 billion fund, with more than $700 million of that whopping total earmarked for life sciences.

Burrill & Company, unlike NEA and KPCB, has rallied investors for a fund focused exclusively on healthcare-related investments. The firm benefits from the global connections and high profile of CEO G. Steven Burrill, who is one of the pioneers in devising financing strategies for risky biotech companies. Burrill was able to surpass the $500 million target he announced in the first $303 million closing of the fund in December, and, as he told MedCity News a year ago, he expected $200 million of the total to come from RusNano, a Russian government-backed investor. 

"We are pleased that our new fund generated strong interest among investors," Burrill said in a statement. "This is a time of great opportunities globally for investors in the life sciences, not just in traditional sectors, but emerging areas brought about by the convergence of healthcare and information technology."

Biotech could use some additional financial support from the VC community. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association's venture figures release last month, VC funding for biotech fell to $697 million, down 42% in the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago. It was the worst quarter for venture funding in the sector since 2003.

- here's the release

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