Index Ventures Raises $198M for First Dedicated Life Sciences Fund, Teams with GSK and J&J

Index Ventures — a European venture firm that has made a name for itself backing tech and Internet companies such as Dropbox, MySQL and Skype — has raised its first dedicated life sciences fund.

The €150 million ($198 million) fund, called  Index Life VI, counts as anchor LPs GlaxoSmithKline and the venture capital affiliate of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, Index said in a statement.

Index, which has offices in Geneva, London and  San Francisco, has been on a fundraising tear. In the past three years it has raised more than $1.3 billion for three funds. It raised $692 million last year for its second growth fund, Index Ventures Growth Fund II. Two years earlier, it raised $441 million for an early stage fund called Index Ventures V, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB).

Although it has invested primarily in IT, Index is no stranger to life sciences. Of the 177 companies it has backed since it was founded in 1996, 20 are focused on biotechnology and 10 on medical/health, Thomson Reuters reports.

The firm’s life sciences practice has six members: Kevin Johnson, Francesco De Rubertis, Roman Fleck, Dani Bach, Gianni Garotta and Michèle Ollier, according to its website. (Index’s tech investment team has 19 members.)

Index said in a statement that its life sciences investments include Genmab A/S (OMX: GEN), PanGenetics B/V (acquired by Abbott Laboratories), Aegerion (Nasdaq: AGRN), Addex Pharmaceuticals (SIX:ADXN), ParAllele BioScience (acquired by Affymetrix), Micromet (acquired by Amgen) and Ariad (NASDAQ: ARIA).

More details are in the press release below.

Image credit: Photograph of cells courtesy of Shutterstock

PRESS RELEASE

Index Ventures Launches New €150m Life Sciences Fund, with Investments from Two Leading Pharma Companies alongside Existing Anchor Limited Partners

Fund and pharma executives to discuss unique collaboration at BIO Europe Spring

March 21st, 2012 – London (UK): – Index Ventures today announced the launch of its first fund solely dedicated to making investments in the life sciences sector. This €150m fund includes investments from several of Index’s largest existing limited partners and two companies, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the venture capital affiliate of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

With this investment in the fund, the two global pharmaceutical companies will share their expertise by participating in the scientific advisory board (SAB) of the fund. Index will maintain full decision making rights to the portfolio companies and the fund rules and procedures will follow previous Index Ventures funds. This unique pharma/venture partnership model is intended to stimulate promising, early-stage R&D innovation.

Index’s “asset centric” model focuses on investment in companies with just one or two projects, rather than companies with multiple programs. The fund will consider opportunities across Europe, primarily, but also across the USA, with assets that have first-in-class or best-in-class mechanisms of action and target areas of unmet medical need.

Index Ventures’ Partner, Francesco De Rubertis said: “We are delighted by the decision of GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen to participate in this fund. The fact that these two global pharmaceutical leaders are committing substantial resources to seek early-stage opportunities through a pure-play classic Venture Capital fund is a testament to the visionary leadership behind the companies.”

“This unique collaboration shows our commitment to the biotech ecosystem and to continuously pursuing creative new ways to access groundbreaking new science,” Dr. Moncef Slaoui Chairman of Research and Development at GSK said. “With its unique platform of entrepreneurs behind the execution of the “asset centric” investing model, we believe Index is well positioned to create an exciting pipeline of drug candidates.”

Dr. Paul Stoffels, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals Group, Johnson & Johnson, added “New and creative approaches to funding early stage innovation are crucial to the development of transformative medicine. We believe that supporting and nurturing start-ups and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation will be good for the entire industry. Partnerships like this one with Index Ventures and its “asset centric” platform will enable us to enhance the probability of identifying early stage technologies in disease areas of high unmet need.”

Composed of nine members, the SAB will include senior executives from the two pharma companies, from GSK, Dr. Moncef Slaoui and Dr Paul-Peter Tak, Head of GSK’s Immunoinflammation Therapy Area Unit and, from Janssen, Dr. Paul Stoffels and Dr. Bill Hait, Global Head, Research and Development; as well as five Index Ventures-appointed executives: Francesco De Rubertis, Kevin Johnson, Michele Ollier, Roman Fleck, and Remy Luthringer.

Index Ventures has been involved in the start-up rounds of companies including Genmab A/S (OMX: GEN), PanGenetics B/V (acquired by Abbott Laboratories, Inc,), Aegerion, Inc., (Nasdaq: AGRN), Addex Pharmaceuticals Ltd (SIX:ADXN), ParAllele BioScience Inc. (acquired by Affymetrix), Molecular Partners AG and ProFibrix BV. Index has also invested in later stages rounds of financing in companies such as Micromet (acquired by Amgen) and Ariad, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARIA). Many molecules discovered in labs financed by Index are now part of late stage clinical pharmaceutical pipelines.

Index Ventures, GSK and Janssen senior executives (Francesco De Rubertis, Dr Moncef Slaoui, and Dr Paul Stoffels) will be holding a panel to discuss the fund at BIO-Europe Spring, in Amsterdam on Wednesday 21st March at 9am. To watch the panel on a live webcast please visit: http://www.ebdgroup.com/bes/media/livestream.php

About Index Ventures:

Index Ventures is a leading global venture capital firm active in technology and biotechnology venture investing since 1996. The firm is dedicated to helping top entrepreneurial teams build their companies into market defining global leaders. The firm has offices in London, Geneva, Jersey and San Francisco and focuses on investments from seed through to growth stage companies.
Since inception Index Ventures has raised five early stage funds and in 2008 Index Ventures raised its first Growth Fund (€400 million), to invest in later stage companies, Index recently raised its biggest fund to date with a second Growth Fund in November 2011 for €500 million. The current active funds under management for life sciences investments are Index II, IV, V and Growth Fund I. The new life sciences fund launched today is called Index Life VI.

In the life sciences field, Index Ventures invests in companies with disruptive platform technologies capable of growing into global leaders. It has also pioneered the asset-centric investment model, focused on investing in single assets with the potential to be first or best in class. Current portfolio companies include Acutus Medical (USA), Cellzome (UK), Profibrix (NL), Cyrenaic (CH), Funxional Therapeutics (UK), Sonkei (CH), Molecular Partners (CH), Mind-NRG (CH) and Novocure (USA).

1 Comment

  • Seems like other venture firms have been getting out of life sciences investing. What does Index Ventures know that others don’t?

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