New Mexico Signs Law, Invests In PE –

On April 5, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed into law legislation that allows the state’s three pension funds, the $6.7 billion New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (ERB), the $10 billion Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) and $12 billion State Investment Council (SIC), to invest more freely in alternative assets, including private equity.

The law enables the pensions to invest in accordance with the Uniform Prudent Investor Act (UPIA), a law that regulates fund managers. This standard allows state pensions to break from what many states have used: a more restrictive list of allowed investment entities. New Mexico’s law was passed overwhelmingly by both houses of its legislature. The law will go into effect on July 1.

The SIC, which has had a limited ability to invest in alternative assets, made two commitments March 31 totaling $50 million into two private equity funds.

The Council committed $30 million to Capital Point Management’s fund, Capital Point Partners. Capital Point Management is a new, Houston-based private equity firm comprised of investment professionals from investment firms David Hamilton Jackson & Associates and Rice Sangalis Toole & Wilson.

The SIC committed $20 million to NGN Capital’s NGN BioMed Opportunity I. According to documents the firm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the firm plans to raise $240 million and counts Stryker Corp. of Kalamazoo, Mich., among its limited partners. The firm was founded by former Carlyle Group Managing Director Kenneth Abramowitz. According to placement firm STEP Strategy Advisors, which is serving as a placement agent for the firm, NGN has a goal of $250 million and has raised almost half of the fund. The fund plans to invest in both public and private companies in health care, biotechnology, life sciences, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

NGN led the $18 million Series B funding of Bothell, Wash.-based Ekos, which develops ultrasound infusion micro-catheters for dissolving blood clots. NGN also teamed with The Bioscience Investment Trust to co-lead a $20 million investment in Berlin-based drug developer Jerini. NGN Capital has offices in New York; Greenwich, Conn.; and Heidelberg, Germany.