Sofinnova Closes $440M Eighth Fund

Sofinnova Ventures has closed its eighth fund, Sofinnova Venture Partners VIII, with a total of $440 million in commitments and a sharpened focus on clinical-stage drug companies.

The firm began fundraising in February, and held a first close four months later, says general partner Garheng Kong. Unlike the firm’s previous fund, which included investments in information technology, the newest vehicle will invest primarily in later stage health care companies, with a specific focus on clinical stage drug development and spinouts. Some 70% of the fund is going to go into such investments, said Kong said. Kong said the firm’s “sweet spot” will be an investment of roughly $20 million to $25 million per company.

Sofinnova aims to fund portfolio companies through regulatory approval and into commercialization. “You can absolutely sell a Phase I company for a big amount, but it depends though on the market, and whether a pharmaceutical company wants to get into a specific space,” he said. “If you get a drug approved – under any circumstances, whether the Dow is at 15,0000 or 8,0000 – you are going to make money. That milestone is unassailable.”

Sofinnova Ventures’ recent exits include Anthera Pharmaceuticals and Trius Therapeutics, which went public in 2010; and gastrointestinal specialist Movetis, which was acquired by Shire last year in a $560 million deal.

Kong said that the fund included more than one new limited partner, but declined to name any of the investors in the fund.

As peHub reported previously, LPs in the firm’s $375 million seventh fund, closed in 2006, included Commonfund Capital, CalSTRS, AXA Private Equity, VenCap International, Dow Employees’ Pension Plan, Wilshire Associates, Credit Suisse, Unigestion, the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement Systems, UTIMCO, Liberty Mutual, Adveq, Caisse des Depots et Consignations Paris, the San Francisco City & County Employees’ Retirement System and the Searle Charitable Trusts.

Sofinnova Ventures has offices in Menlo Park, Calif., and La Jolla, Calif.