SmithKline Beecham said Wednesday that it has doubled thesize of its venture capital fund, S.R. One, to $100 million from$50 million.

The infusion of cash will allow the fund to invest up to $10million in any one company, said Peter Sears, S.R. One'spresident. The fund had had a $5 million investment ceiling,and only did one such funding.

"The cash needs for start-up biotechnology companies havereally risen, and we must keep pace," Sears said.

Sears added that he expects the Philadelphia fund's averageinvestment in a company over more than one round to rise to $2million to $3 million. It had been in the $1 million to $1.5million range.

S.R. One is especially interested in companies in the fields ofneurobiology, cytology, cancer diagnostics, drug delivery,diagnostics for the consumer market and dermatologics, saidSears. "But if a good deal (in another area) comes through,we're not going to turn away from it."

By the end of 1991, S.R. One will have invested in 33companies since the fund's inception in 1985. The fund willhave exited from 12, for a total of 21 current investments. S.R.One expects to invest in about 55 more companies by 1996.

SmithKline of Philadelphia collaborates with one-half to two-thirds of the companies S.R. One funds, with the expectationthat another quarter of the companies will ultimately have acollaboration with SmithKline, said Sears. -- Karen Bernstein

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