Biotech backer Avalon Ventures raises $202M for latest fund

Avalon Ventures has restocked its coffers with $201.6 million, exceeding the $200 million that the La Jolla, CA-based VC firm targeted for its 10th fund, according to an SEC filing. The firm filed the record for the new fund, which could reach as high as $250 million, about a month after sources told Dow Jones that the VC outfit was raising money for it.

Avalon, which also has a presence in the Boston area, has historically backed a mix of life sciences and tech companies. In biotech, the company has made exits from bets on Amira Pharmaceuticals, which Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) bought last year for $325 million upfront, and BioVex, which Amgen ($AMGN) purchased early last year for $425 million upfront. Avalon and other investors in Amira and BioVex could reap millions in milestone fees from the buyers based on the success of assets in the two biotechs' pipelines.

Credit Avalon for raising money as many VCs struggle to close new funds, leaving startups with fewer venture sources to hit up for new rounds. Another notable exception is New Enterprise Associates, which closed a $2.6 billion fund earlier this summer, with therapeutics and devices expected to gain a solid chunk of that total. Nevertheless, biotech venture dollars invested shrank 52% in the second quarter compared to the same quarter last year and the number of deals fell by 30% during the same period, according to data from Thomson Reuters in the PricewaterhouseCoopers and National Venture Capital Association's closely watched MoneyTree report.

It's unclear how much of Avalon's latest fund will be allocated for biotech investments, as the firm has previously bet outside of life sciences on tech companies such as the social gaming group Zynga, which had a big IPO before the stock went south. FierceBiotech left a message at Avalon's headquarters this morning, but did not hear back from a representative of the firm before this story was published.

- here's the SEC filing
- check out PEHub's report
- and the Boston Business Journal's article

Special Report: The Top 15 Biotech Venture Investments in H1 2012

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