Sofinnova Partners, one of the leading French and European venture capital
firms specializing in information technologies and life sciences, has raised EUR
330 million for its new Sofinnova Capital IV fund. The initial objective of EUR
230 million was surpassed because of strong demand from investors in previous
Sofinnova funds as well as from new investors.
Important investors in previous funds, such as JP Morgan, AGF, HarbourVest
Partners, Swiss Re, Fondinvest, and Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, have also
invested in Sofinnova Capital IV. It has also attracted new investors, both
financial (including PartnersGroup and LGT) and industrial (IBM, Dow Chemical
and others) as well as private investors, including founders of companies
financed by Sofinnova Partners.
This is the largest amount raised by an independent European venture capital
fund for many months and takes place in a market environment that is not exactly
favorable. In 1998, when it closed its previous fund, Sofinnova Capital III,
Sofinnova Partners had raised EUR 120 million, of which 60% had been invested as
of March 31, 2001 in 30 companies.
According to Jean-Bernard Schmidt, Managing Partner of Sofinnova Partners,
“the success of this fund raising exercise is a witness to investors’ confidence
in Sofinnova Partners, and rewards the professionalism and dedication of our
management team. For a number of years, we have built innovative companies by
working alongside their founders. A high proportion of our investment selections
have met with success. This new fund gives us the resources to continue
investing in promising European companies in both the life sciences and network
technologies fields. It strengthens our position as a leading European venture
A targeted and selective investment strategy
– Sofinnova Capital IV aims to invest EUR 8-12 million each in 30 new
companies, spread over several rounds of financing.
– Investments will be split evenly between the two sectors in which Sofinnova
Partners has specialized since 1989: information technology and life sciences.
– In line with Sofinnova Partners’ strategy, the new fund will concentrate
its investments in ambitious projects and companies being formed or in their
early stage of development.
– In the information technology field, Sofinnova Partners will focus on
financing projects related to network technologies, a market expected to attract
two thirds of all information technology investments between now and 2004.
– In life sciences, Sofinnova Capital IV will continue to concentrate its
investments in two vital fields: biopharmaceutical projects directed at major
pathologies such as central nervous system disorders, infectious diseases and
cancer, and medical instrumentation projects that are likely to set new
– Sofinnova Capital IV will be 50% invested in France, 35% in other European
countries and 15% in the US.
Six investments have already been made
Sofinnova Partners has already made six investments on behalf of the new
. Four are in the life sciences sector:
->Neuro 3D, a French company developing compounds for the treatment of
disorders of the central nervous system, which Sofinnova Partners financed at
the seed stage and for which it was co-leader of the first financing round in
November 2000 (EUR 1.3 million).
->Cellzome, a German company in which Sofinnova Partners invested EUR 5.6
million in February 2001, specialized in proteomics and a spin-off from the
prestigious EMBL research center in Heidelberg.
->Biolipox, a Swedish company specialized in the discovery and development
of new therapeutic compounds for use in the treatment of respiratory diseases.
Sofinnova Partners was the co-leader for the first financing round, which raised
EUR 2.3 million in March 2001.
->David Pharmaceuticals, a US company specialized in the development of
new therapeutic compounds for use in the treatment of memory disorders.
Sofinnova Partners invested EUR 3.3 million as co-lead investor with Sofinnova
Ventures in San Francisco.
. Two investments are in the information technologies field:
->E-mail Vision, a French company that provides software platforms for
implementing direct marketing campaigns on the Internet. Sofinnova partners
invested EUR 3.5 million in March 2001 as leader of a new financing round.
->T-Source, a new seed fund specialized in telecommunications and formed
by I-source Gestion. Sofinnova Partners invested EUR 2 million in March 2001.
Sofinnova Partners, which traces its origins back to 1972, is managed by a
close-knit team of seven investment specialists with complementary skills, drawn
from extremely diverse backgrounds and organized into two specialized groups
(life sciences and information technology). This team draws on a quality
European network of partner-investors and on its natural partner in the US,
Sofinnova Ventures in San Francisco, for its international development. It
currently manages EUR 500 million of assets.