Advent raises £145.5m for life sciences

The fund will back entrepreneurs, early- and mid-stage companies in the UK, Europe and the US

Advent Life Sciences, the life sciences venture arm of Advent Venture Partners, has closed its second fund on £145.5 million, according to a statement from the firm.

The firm was initially targeting £120 million for the fund, according to Private Equity International’s Research and Analytics division. Investors in the fund, which “quickly exceeded its target”, include funds-of-funds, pension funds and family offices from the UK, Europe and the US.

General partner Raj Parekh said in a statement that commitments from returning and new LPs allowed the firm to raise the fund “in a matter of weeks”. He told PEI that the GP commitment to the fund was “higher than market [average]”.

The re-up rate for the fund was around 80 percent, with approximately 35 percent of the money committed coming from new investors.

The fund will be used to seed and build life sciences companies in the UK, Europe and the US, backing entrepreneurs, early-stage and mid-stage companies with the potential to develop breakthrough products for unmet medical needs. The firm is looking to make between 15 and 20 investments, Parekh said.

The firm’s previous life sciences-dedicated fund, Advent Life Sciences Fund I, a 2010-vintage, closed on £101.3 million. The fund has already made one trade sale, offloading CN Creative to British American Tobacco, and one IPO, listing endocrine-focused biopharmaceutical company Versartis on the NASDAQ in March 2014 for $21 per share.

“That’s the kind of thing that LPs respond to,” Parekh told PEI. “I think there is a feeling that early-stage or life-science venture takes too long to return money. And what we’ve tried to do is to focus the investment strategy both on strong exits, and therefore good multiples, but also regular liquidity for LPs, meaning strong IRR.”

Advent Life Sciences’ team of 11 professionals came together in 2005. The first fund they invested and managed was the life-sciences part of 2006 Advent Private Equity Fund IV, an Advent Ventures vehicle that invested in both life sciences and IT. Advent Ventures then decided to raise sector-specific funds.

Advent’s tech team, led by Mike Chalfen, has since split off from the umbrella firm, to form Mosaic Ventures. After Advent Ventures wraps up its historical funds it will cease to operate under that name, becoming Advent Life Sciences.

The life sciences team plans to start investing the new fund at the end of this year or early next year, Parekh said. The firm has yet to finish the investment period on Fund I, and is looking to make a further investment from the vehicle.