Vitalife Life Sciences Ventures, the Israeli life sciences venture investor, has held a final close of its debut fund on $50m, a year after holding an initial close of the fund on $30m.
The fund, which will focus on investments in Israeli life sciences companies, secured initial commitments from a group of investors including Discount Capital Markets, Union Bank and medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific, which itself plans to invest $100m in Israeli companies. The second round of financing for the fund was led by HarbourVest Partners, which committed $8m.
Vitalife was set up in 2001 by Avi Ludomirsky and Jeff Dykan, the fund’s managing partners, with their first fund targeted at between $50m and $75m. The firm has already invested $15m of the fund’s total capital in ten ventures, including MediGuide, SightLine, Procognia and TransPharma. “It is a great achievement for Vitalife that world-class investors such as HarbourVest have decided to join our fund, especially given the current investment climate,” said Ludomirsky, who added that current deal flow in the Israeli life sciences sector was ‘excellent’.
According to the Israel-based IVC Research Center, there is currently $1.5bn of uninvested capital available for investment in Israel, half of which is designated for first round high-tech investments. $4.6bn of private equity and VC capital was raised for investment in Israel between 2000 and 2002. Last year though only $63m was raised. According to IVC, the return of capital outpaced new capital raised, resulting in negative capital raised of $128m. In February, VC firm Jerusalem Global Ventures reduced the size of two of its funds by a total of $30m.