Abingworth proves biotech popularity

Abingworth Management has closed its fourth life science fund $75 million over target at $225 million. Abingworth Bioventures III will invest in early stage UK, European and US life science companies in the biotech and medical sectors.

Since the fund’s first closing of $165 million in April it has invested in nine companies, two in the US and seven in Europe. UK investments include companies developing drug discovery technologies (Akubio and Astex Technology), drug development companies (Chroma Therapeutics, Inpharmatica and Phoqus) and a DNA analysis company (Solexa).

Abingworth’s last fund, which raised $100 million in 1997, was invested 50:50 in Europe and the US, but the new fund is likely to see an increase in European investments. The fund, raised in the US and Europe, will invest between $0.5 million and $10 millionper company.

Dr Stephen Bunting, appointed managing director of Abingworth this summer, said: “We specialise in early stage deals that are often still based in a University environment and have no management team. Abingworth provides interim management from its own staff, who have many years of operating experience.”

Abingworth Management is based in London with an office in Palo Alto.

Also, Swiss life science fund, HBM BioVentures increased its funds via a share placing, by CHF248 million (EURO168 million) to CHF766 million (EURO519 million). The fund, set-up by the former CFO of the Roche Group, Dr Henri B Meier, invests in mainly late stage private equity rounds and public companies in sectors such as biotechnology, emerging pharmaceuticals and medical technology. The fund began investing in US and Western European companies this summer and will make commitments to specialised, regional early-stage funds.