Avalon Ventures Eyes $250M for Fund X – Filing

Avalon Ventures group picture

Avalon Ventures, the La Jolla, Calif.-based venture fund best known for its life science portfolio and its early investment in social game developer Zynga,has raised $202 million toward a planned $250 million fund, according to a securities filing.

The new fund, Avalon Ventures X, is the firm’s second in two years. Its last fund, Avalon Ventures IX, a $200 million vehicle, closed in 2010.

Avalon’s portfolio contains a mix of life sciences, Internet and technology investments. The firm was founded in 1983, making it one of the older venture investors around.  But it’s in recent years that the firm has been scaling up its capital reserves. Its funds prior to Fund IX did not top the $80 million threshold, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The firm has had a number of exits in the past couple of years, including:

Amira Pharmaceuticals, a developer of compounds to treat inflammatory and fibrotic diseases, sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb in July of last year for $475 million. Avalon was a backer in early and later stage rounds for the San Diego company. It had raised $35 million in venture funding prior to the acquisition.

BioVex Group, a Woburn, Mass.-based developer of vaccines for cancer and infectious diseases, sold to Amgen in January, 2011, in a deal valued at $1 billion. Avalon was a backer in several rounds for the company, which raised $220 million in venture funding, according to Thomson Reuters.

Cloudkick, a developer of tools for cloud-based server management, sold to Rackspace Hosting in December, 2010 for an undisclosed sum. Avalon was a seed investor in the San Jose-based company.

Pictela, an Avalon-funded developer of a platform for rich media advertising, sold to AOL in December, 2010 for an undisclosed sum.

 Zynga, the San Francisco-based social gaming company, went public in December. Avalon was an early stage investor and owned 6% of the company at the time of its IPO. The company has a market capitalization currently around $2.5 billion.

Ortiva Wireless, an Avalon-backed provider of software for managing mobile video, was acquired by Allot Communications a provider of traffic and revenue management tools for data networks, in May for an undisclosed sum.

Recent investments include follow-on rounds for Backupify, a provider of backup services for cloud-based applications, and Simulmedia, developer of a predictive analytics-driven television advertising platform.

The filing lists the same team of general partners currently featured on the firm website. They include Doug Downs, Brady Bohrmann, Kevin Kinsella, Steve Tomlin, Rich Levandov and Jay Lichter.

Avalon could not be reached for comment.

Photo courtesy of Avalon Ventures website.