Fund briefs, May 21, 2007

Third Rock seeks to build on $300M

Third Rock Ventures

, a life sciences venture firm founded by four ex-Millennium Pharmaceutical executives, is looking to raise $300 million for its inaugural fund. The team includes former Millennium CEO Mark Levin, who was a partner with Mayfield Fund up until 1994.

Joining Levin is Robert Tepper, Millennium’s former head of research and development; Kevin Starr, Millennium’s former CFO; and Nick Leschly, who had been the project leader for the cancer drug Velcade. (Leschly’s father is Jan Leschly of Care Capital and his brother Mark is with Rho Capital.)

No details yet on the strategy, but some expect Third Rock to look at early stage drug companies, according to the In Vivo blog (

Life sciences venture fund raises $175M

Atlanta-based Accuitive Medical Ventures has raised $175 million in commitments, $25 million more than targeted.

Managing Director Gerard van Hamel Platerink told the Atlanta Business Chronicle that the firm, which invests in early stage medical device companies, plans to invest in 20 companies over the next three or four years. The Duluth, Ga.-based firm raised about $55 million for its first fund in 2004.

The firm’s portfolio of a dozen early stage life science companies includes Irvine, Calif.-based AcuFocus Inc., a developer of implants for the eye that was founded in Georgia, and which has raised about $57 million from investors.

Apollo to shoot for $15B

Apollo Management

is planning to raise at least $15 billion for its seventh buyout fund, according to Private Equity Insider. The publication says that the plan was unveiled to limited partners during an annual meeting this month, and that firm CEO Leon Black did not specify a fund cap. Apollo closed on $10 billion for its sixth fund in February 2006.

Excellere closes inaugural fund at $265M

Excellere Partners

announced last week that it has raised $265 million for its inaugural fund, which had a target of $200 million. The company said the vast majority of LPs are “large state and county pension plans and U.S.- and European-based insurance companies.” The Denver-based private equity firm focuses on majority recapitalizations and management buyouts in health care, life sciences, business services/products and energy.

Seed stage firm adds to first fund

IDEA Fund Partners has held a first close on its inaugural fund, which will focus on seed and early stage opportunities in North Carolina. No terms were disclosed, although IDEA did say that the fund target is $25 million.

Milestone raises $50M

Milestone Venture Partners

last week announced it has received a $15 million commitment for its third fund from the New York State Common Retirement Fund. This brings the fund total up to $50 million, with a third and final close expected later this year.

Milestone focuses on tech-enhanced services companies in the greater New York metropolitan area.

JLL Partners likely to raise new fund later this year

JLL Partners

is likely to raise its sixth buyout fund later this year. Currently, the New York-based LBO firm invests from JLL Partners Fund V, a $1.5 billion vehicle that closed in 2005 and which is now nearly 60% invested.

JLL Partners has been busy with a spurt of activity since early April, including the close of two deals and achieving its first realization from its fourth fund.

JPMorgan launches PE fund services


has launched a private equity fund services business in the UK, which will focus on both Europe and the Middle East. It will offer fund administrations services, including investor tracking, fund accounting, tax support services and investor reporting.

It also will provide portfolio administration services to limited partners.

Continuum on pace to hit market for $500M

Continuum Capital Partners

has launched as a Bay Area growth equity firm that will soon begin marketing a $500 million debut fund, according to Private Equity Insider. Firm management includes Greg Black (formerly with Warburg Pincus), Vladimir Jacimovic (New Enterprise Associates) and Ashley Fiedlein (General Atlantic). —PE Week