Sofinnova reaps $312M for its dedicated life sciences fund

Bucking weak investor interest in the life sciences, Paris-based Sofinnova--a longtime player in biotech venture circles--has put together a $312 million fund that will be entirely dedicated to the life sciences.

Patting itself on the back for its "significant achievement," the venture group says that it managed to woo some big institutional investors into Sofinnova Capital VII, including the European Investment Fund, Skandia Life Insurance Company, CNP Assurances, and CDC Enterprises. Much of their cash will go into Sofinnova's seed investments for biotech and medical devices. And the venture group also launched a €22.5 million seed fund for industrial biotech.

"Despite the very tough fundraising environment, investors have recognized our team's ability to generate superior returns and our capacity to transform an entrepreneur's vision into a highly successful business," said general partner Denis Lucquin. "With this new fund, Sofinnova Partners is ideally positioned to invest in, and develop, Life Sciences companies who generate products that will radically improve people's lives."

Sofinnova boasts of a string of successful exits in recent years. Among its portfolio companies were CoreValve, sold to Medtronic ($MDT) for up to $850 million; Novexel, sold to AstraZeneca ($AZN) for up to $505 million; Movetis, sold to Shire ($SHPG) for €428 million; Fovea, sold to Sanofi-Aventis for up to €370 million; and PregLem, sold to Gedeon Richter for up to CHF445 million. Stentys and DBV went public on Euronext Paris. 

Venture cash flows into the industry weakened significantly but generally held steady in the U.S. between the economic crisis of 2008 and 2011. But this year there was a distinct souring on the VC side of the industry as the cash flow dropped significantly in the first half before picking up in the third quarter. Europe has traditionally trailed the U.S. in terms of venture investing.

- here's the press release

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