Clarus adds a $500M biotech venture fund as the good times roll

You can add Clarus Ventures to the long list of venture groups active in life sciences that raised a big new fund.

Clarus Managing Director Scott Requadt

Clarus announced this morning that it had raised $500 million for its third biotech fund, Clarus III, easily beating its goal of $375 million. That money will now be devoted to new investments ranging from $15 million to $50 million for companies focused on breakthrough--or at least best-in-class--drugs or new R&D risk-sharing projects with biotechs and pharmas.

"We've entered a promising new era of innovation in life sciences, both in terms of important scientific advances as well as new business and risk-sharing models," said Scott Requadt, managing director, in a statement. "Given our team's deep expertise in drug development and deal structuring, Clarus is well-positioned to be a leader in both areas."

Clarus's portfolio includes Lycera, which just struck an M&A option deal with Celgene ($CELG). Based in Cambridge, MA, and South San Francisco, Clarus also has stakes in Cleave, Catabasis and Achillion, among others.

Venture groups have been having basking in the glow of a hot IPO market for biotechs. As investors piled back in over the last two years, losing their post-2008 crisis fear of risk, valuations in the field have headed sky high. New crossover venture investors have jumped into the fray as well, looking to benefit from the rising tide. And it's been the perfect environment for raising new funds.

The Clarus Ventures team includes Nicholas Galakatos, Dennis Henner, Robert Liptak, Scott Requadt, Nicholas Simon, and Kurt Wheeler; partners Emmett Cunningham and Michele Park; principal Finny Kuruvilla; associate Ari Brettman; senior advisors Jeff Leiden and Edward Scolnick and venture partners Barry Gertz and William Young.

- here's the release