SV Life Sciences sets out for $400M to fuel biotech bets

Biotech investor SV Life Sciences is out raising a 6th fund, looking for $400 million as it gears up for another round of bets on startups.

The firm, based in London, Boston and San Francisco, divides its investments between traditional biopharma, med tech and health IT. Its last fund, a $523 million haul, debuted in 2010, bringing SV's capital under management to roughly $2 billion. With that purse, SV took stakes in the ophthalmology-focused Kalvista Pharmaceuticals, dermatology biotech Thesan Pharmaceticals and oncology innovator Sutro Biopharma, among others.

Over the last year alone, the firm has seen Entellus Medical ($ENTL) execute a $78 million IPO, Convergence Pharmaceuticals go to Biogen ($BIIB) for up to $675 million and OncoEthix get bought by Merck ($MRK) in a $375 million deal.

Now, after that string of exits, SV is retooling for the future. According to a Form D filed last week, SV is just beginning the process of raising its 6th fund, returning to limited partners to refill its coffers.

Like many well-established biotech VC firms, SV stands to benefit from biotech's current virtuous cycle. As ever, Big Pharma has wide gaps in its pipeline and needs biotech's help, but the enthusiastic reception for life sciences companies on Wall Street has provided both a near-term liquidity option for investors and a lever for boosting the valuations of startups and their assets. That has allowed stalwarts like SV to quickly return cash to their limited partners, easing the process of amassing new funds.

- read the filing