VC fund briefs, week of Jan. 21, 2008

Synergy raises first fund

Synergy Life Science Partners has closed its debut fund with $143 million in capital commitments. Limited partners include Parish Capital Advisors.

The Portola Valley, Calif.-based venture firm, which will focus on early stage medical device companies, was founded in 2006 by John Onopchenko (who was previously with J&J Development Corp.), Richard Stack (co-founder of Synecor) and Bill Starling (another Synecor co-founder). Tracy Pappas recently joined as CFO, after having served in the same role with Scale Venture Partners.The firm has already invested in six medical device companies. Synergy also has the right to invest in companies initiated by Synecor, a medical device incubator.

VantagePoint eyes second cleantech fund

VantagePoint Venture Partners is raising up to $400 million for its second cleantech fund, according to a regulatory filing. The San Bruno, Calif.-based firm raised about $100 million for its first cleantech fund two years ago.

The firm’s cleantech group is co-led by Alan Salzman and Stephan Dolezalek.

Montreux closes fourth life sciences fund

Montreux Equity Partners, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based VC firm focused on therapeutic-oriented life sciences companies, has closed its fourth fund with $250 million in capital commitments, which exceeded its $200 million target. The firm raised almost $100 million for fund III in 2003.

Lazard Freres & Co. served as placement agent, while limited partners include Hamilton Lane Advisors.

New Atlantic raises $70M

New Atlantic Venture Partners has held a first close of over $70 million for its first fund since forming last year, as a merger between the partners of Draper Atlantic and DFJ New England. The firm is targeting $175 million, with a $200 million cap.

Prevail Capital is serving as placement agent.

New Atlantic Ventures has four managing partners, including John Backus and Thanasis Delistathis in Reston, Va., and former DFJ New England co-founders Todd Hixon and Scott Johnson in Cambridge, Mass. The partners split from the Draper Fisher Jurvetson affiliate network in late 2006.

Ontario forms VC fund

The Ontario government has agreed to invest $90 million in a $165 million venture capital fund focused on companies within the province. The fund is being raised in partnership with the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, RBC Capital Partners, Business Development Bank of Canada and Manulife Financial.

Ontario is investing $90 million in this first round of the fund, with the remaining $75 million coming from the partner investors.

MedImmune broadens investment focus


, a unit of AstraZeneca, announced this month that its venture capital group will broaden its focus to include the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, pain, central nervous system disorders and gastrointestinal disease. The Gaithersburg, Md.-based group had previously been focused only on infectious disease, oncology and inflammatory disease.

Since its inception in 2002, MedImmune Ventures has invested in 22 companies.

As part of its broader focus, the venture unit added a number of investors to its team and promoted Dr. Joseph Amprey to managing director of MedImmune Ventures. Last year, Wayne Hockmeyer, who founded MedImmune Inc. in 1998 and served as president of the venture unit for a number of years, retired.