BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Schroder Ventures Life Sciences announced the final closing of its third fund with total commitments of $402 million, enough to back 30 to 35 companies over the next four to six years.

While not necessarily a sign that the funding drought is over, Kate Bingham, general partner of SVLS in London, told BioWorld International there is an appetite for life sciences investment. "It was not that bad raising the money," she said. "But it took a lot of time because of the number of new investors."

The International Life Sciences Fund III (IFSF) brings SVLS's total funds under management to just under $900 million, including the International Biotechnology Trust plc, which is advised by SVLS. ILSF III attracted 18 new investors, with approximately half the cash coming from North America and half from Europe. "We were chuffed to pieces to get so many new investors, especially in Europe," Bingham said.

There is no fixed investment allocation by country, but ILSF I and II were invested 50 percent to 65 percent in the U.S. and 30 percent to 35 percent in Europe, and Bingham expects the split to be about the same for this third fund.

All the money will go into new investments, with typical deal sizes expected to range from $5 million to $20 million. The focus is on start-ups, early stage and expansion capital for unquoted companies.