TVM leads second bumper VC round

German venture capital firm Techno Venture Management has led the largest European lifescience funding round in 2003, backing UK-based Ardana Bioscience.

Techno Venture Management, the German venture capital firm, has participated in a second large financing round in as many weeks, leading a $32.5m (£20m) series B round of financing for Ardana Bioscience, a UK-based speciality pharmaceutical company.

In addition to TVM, Isis Equity Partners has committed capital to the financing round alongside five existing Ardana shareholders, Merlin Biosciences Fund II, MVM Limited, ABN AMRO Capital, 3i and Green Highlander.


The new funding will support the European launch of Ardana's first product, an androgen replacement therapy, and enable the company to progress five compounds into Phase III clinical trials by 2005. In addition to this funding, Ardana says it is planning for both outlicensing and partnering revenues from non-core products by 2005.


“Ardana's indication focus and its current portfolio make it a highly attractive investment opportunity for TVM, as reproductive medicine is of increasing medical and economic relevance for Western society,” said Hubert Birner, a general partner of TVM.


The latest round takes Ardana’s total VC fundraising to $54m. In October 2001, Ardana raised $20m in its first full round of fundraising. The funding round was led by Merlin Biosciences. Previously, Ardana raised $1.6m of seed capital from its founders and early backers during 2000-01. Ardana says it will start to generate revenue streams from outlicensing in 2003 and will become profitable and cash positive in 2007.


Last week, Intercell, an Austrian vaccine development company based in Vienna completed a E30m ($34m) round of series C financing, led by German VC firm Global Life Science Ventures and including a group of blue chip venture capital providers comprising Apax Partners, Nomura, Techno Venture Management (TVM) and NIB Capital.


In terms of both funds raised and investments undertaken, the European venture capital market has continued to fall from the heights it enjoyed during the technology boom of the late 1990s. According to data published by Ernst & Young and VentureOne, investment by European venture capitalists fell from E1.04bn in the final quarter of last year to E639m in the first quarter of this year.


However, there are signs that, in the US at least, the venture capital market may be picking up. Preliminary data from the National Venture Capital Association showed the first quarter-on-quarter increase in venture capital investment in the US for three years. Overall, 669 US-based companies raised a total of $4.28bn during the second quarter of 2003. The last time quarterly venture activity rose was during Q1 2000, when $28.61bn was raised compared to the previous quarter levels of $23.72bn.