GBS holds second close on A$100m

The Australian venture capital firm is targeting A$200m for its fourth fund. A final close is expected by March 2009.

Life sciences- and medical technology-focused GBS Venture Partners has raised slightly more than A$100 million ($69 million; €54 million) for the second close of GBS BioVentures IV. It clarified a statement released earlier this week that indicated the fund had held a final close.

Limited partners in the fund include Victorian Funds Management Corporation, ARIA, Meat Industry Employees' Superannuation Fund, Macquarie Group, Quay Partners and Industry Funds Management.

“We are pleased to have raised A$100 million in this tough environment,” GBS managing director Brigitte Smith said in an interview. She added that 2008 is likely to be a “tremendous vintage year as capital is scarce in this market”.

The firm’s previous fund, GBS BioVentures III, raised A$150 million and was fully invested in 13 deals after two-and-a-half years of investing.

GBS IV will invest in companies in Australia and New Zealand, or in US companies with substantial Australasian operations or technologies.

It has made three investments so far in Nuon Therapeutics, which is developing therapies in inflammation and neurological disease; Elastagen, which engages in R&D focused on isolating and manipulating recombinant human tropoelastin; and Peplin, which is developing a gel to treat sun spots.

GBS provides seed, start-up and early stage expansion funding to companies employing technologies such as human or animal therapeutics and diagnostics, medical devices, health information technology and agribusiness and environmental technology.

The firm was established in 2002 through the management buyout of Rothschild Bioscience Managers Limited from NM Rothschild & Sons. It presently manages assets of more than A$400 million.