Venrock raises $194m for healthcare

The venture firm established by the Rockefeller family now has more than $2.2bn under management.

US venture firm Venrock, founded by the grandson of Standard Oil tycoon John Davison Rockefeller, has closed a healthcare-focused fund on $194 million.

Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners is the firm’s first fund to focus solely on one sector; it will invest in publicly held and late stage private healthcare companies.

The firm closed Venrock V on $600 million in May 2007. It invests in the technology, healthcare, media and energy sectors.

Venrock noted in a statement it was among the first private investors to tap the healthcare market in the early 1980s, with historic investments including biotechnology companies Athena Neurosciences and Dianon Systems in 1986 and Centocor in 1980. The firm has a total of 39 companies in its healthcare portfolio.

“Venrock has made several investments into public corporations opportunistically in the past, such as Sirna Therapeutics and the World Heard Corporation. Our investment approach is uniquely applicable to evaluating publicly-held, small cap healthcare companies as potential investment opportunities,” said Anders Hove, a Venrock managing director.

The firm was established in the 1930s by Laurance Rockefeller, who pioneered early-stage financing by investing in Eastern Airlines and McDonnell Aircraft. In 1969, Venrock was more formally founded as a venture capitalist firm. It now has offices in Palo Alto, New York, Boston and Israel, and manages funds of more than $2.2 billion.