Edmond de Rothschild scores $152M for its fourth biotech fund

Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, a high-profile venture player in the European life sciences scene, has braved a tough financial environment and rounded up a bit more than $152 million for its fourth biotech fund. And the group says it's on track to add another $95 million for the final close by the end of the year.

Rothschild plans to continue to pursue a well-established strategy for BioDiscovery 4, taking part in rounds for 15 to 20 primarily European companies developing drugs, med tech and molecular diagnostics. Its life sciences team now has €355 million under its management in such companies as Berlin-based Noxxon and Genkyotex, which just bumped its third round by $26 million as it steers an experimental drug for diabetic nephropathy through Phase II.

"We do not really have an average amount but we plan to invest between €5 million to €15 million per company," Rothschild partner Raphael Wisniewski told FierceBiotech in an e-mail.

Getting the new fund up and running hasn't been easy. During a gathering of Rothschild-backed portfolio companies in France last summer Wisniewski noted that they were canvassing institutional investors, adding that gaining fresh commitments to a new fund was proving to be a lengthy process. Now, a year later, they're still wooing investors to complete the fund. That's not unusual, though. Financial News notes that a broad slate of life sciences funds in Europe often takes more than a year to piece together new funds.

As a result, some unorthodox venture funds have been launched in recent months, including a $317 million fund put together earlier this year by the Wellcome Trust, the U.K.'s wealthiest charity. And in March GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and J&J ($JNJ) joined Index Ventures on a new $200 million fund for early-stage companies, which are often the hardest pressed when it comes to raising capital. 

- read the press release
- here's the story from Financial News