Thomas Weisel banks on new funds

Thomas Weisel Partners Group (Nasdaq: TWPG) is raising a new biotech fund, Private Equity Week has learned.

The news comes on the heels of PE Week’s report on Feb. 13 that the firm is in the midst of raising a $300 million fund of funds that will invest in private equity funds targeting India.

Thomas Weisel launched its first biotech fund back in 2001, closing on $125 million. Thomas Weisel Healthcare Venture Partners should have no trouble raising a new fund, given that two of the seven companies it backed have gone public: Aspreva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ASPV) and CoTherix (Nasdaq: CTRX). A third, QuatRx Pharmaceuticals, filed IPO registration papers last month.

Given its recent moves, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thomas Weisel raise a follow-on fund for Thomas Weisel Venture Partners, a $255 million tech-focused fund raised in 2000. Like most funds of that vintage year, it has had its share of portfolio companies go out of business, according to research in the MoneyTree Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Financial (publisher of PE Week) and the National Venture Capital Association. That fund’s duds include Allegro Networks, Appian Communications, Celox Networks, Sitara Networks, Storigen Systems and Tsola (aka e-Context),

But the early stage tech fund also has had four exits through acquisitions: Framework Technologies,, Interactive Search Holdings and Pivia Software, according to MoneyTree.