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New $315 Million Life Sciences Venture Fund Unveiled

Investment graphic

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

9 July 2018. A life science and health care investment company in the U.K. today revealed its 12th venture capital fund for start-up and current enterprises in the U.S. and Europe. Abingworth LLP, based in London, says its new Abingworth Bioventures VII fund raised $315 million, which brings the company’s total investment value to $1.2 billion.

Abingworth invests in companies developing innovative pharmaceuticals, biologics, nucleic acid treatments, medical devices, diagnostics, and support technologies including instrumentation and software. Its investments include seed funds for new start-ups as well as later-stage investments, including publicly-funded companies, and in some cases also incubates new enterprises on its premises. Abingworth typically invests $15 to $30 million per company, holding these investments for 3 to 8 years.

Abingworth Bioventures VII or ABV VII is the company’s 12th investment vehicle. ABV VII’s funds, says Abingworth, were raised from foundations, endowments, family investors, health care companies, insurance companies, and pension plans in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The company says with the new fund it plans to continue its strategy of supporting early- and late-stage enterprises in the U.S. and Europe.

Among the companies in Abingworth’s portfolio is Crispr Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded by 5 scientists including Emmanuelle Charpentier, now with the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and one of the pioneers in the genome editing technology. Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna at University of California in Berkeley led research teams that published early findings about Crispr in the journal Science in 2012, and an article in Nature a year earlier.

Science & Enterprise reported several times on Crispr Therapeutics, going back to its first venture round in 2014 and second funding round in 2016. This site also reported on the company’s licensing deals with drug maker Bayer and biotechnology company Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The partnership with Vertex, to develop Crispr-based treatments for inherited blood diseases, hit a snag at the end of May 2018, when the FDA stopped the companies from beginning a clinical trial of its experimental treatment for sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia.

Science & Enterprise also reported on the previous Abingworth Bioventures VI fund that raised $375 million in 2014, as well as earlier investments by Abingworth in Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Chiasma, and Prosensa.

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