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Abingworth raises $315m to expand hunt for promising biotechs

New fund earmarked for early to late-stage European and US firms


UK investment group Abingworth has raised $315m for its latest fund ABV VII, overshooting its $300m target, and indicating that the appetite for biotech investment remains strong.

The new fund – Abingworth’s 12th for life sciences companies – will once again be earmarked for early- to late-stage European and US firms, and takes the total managed by the firm to more than $1.2bn. ABV VII will concentrate on investments in the $15m to $30m range as it seeks out the next generation of promising biotechs, it says, which is in line with its earlier investment strategy.

To date, Abingworth has taken positions in 148 biotech companies over its history, and has chalked up some high-profile exits of late, which will have endeared the company to participants in its latest fund.

The acquisitions of rare disease specialist Wilson Therapeutics by Alexion for $855m and of IFM Therapeutics – an immuno-oncology player – by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $1.3bn are recent successes for the firm which has seen 65 of its investments go onto public offerings and 46 mergers and acquisitions.

Tim HainesKurt von Emster

Abingworth is led by managing partners Tim Haines (above, left) and Kurt von Emster (above right) who put the success of the fund down to its transatlantic credentials with locations in London, San Francisco and Boston – close to the UK’s 'golden triangle' and the east and west coast biotech hubs in the US.

This has “increased deal flow and expanded access to markets as well as broadened our network of entrepreneurs, management and investors,” says von Emster. The latest fundraising included both existing and new investors, attracting capital from a broad range of sources including “endowments, foundations, fund-of-funds, family offices, healthcare corporations, insurance companies and pension plans across the US, Europe and Asia.”

ABV VII is a little below Abingworth’s last raise of $375m in 2014, and well short of the $590m it mustered back in 2008, when biotech cash was plentiful and accessible and the strictures of the economic downturn had yet to take hold.

There is clearly still a lot of interest in the sector and while investors tend to be more cautious and selective, recent events such as the approvals of new cell and gene therapies have reinvigorated biotech’s access to venture funding and prompted a spate of public listings.

Abingworth has shown it is prepared to back leading edge science, as witnessed by its participation in the first funding round for gene-editing company CRISPR Therapeutics. And it also helps to incubate promising biotechs, providing seed funding and office space for GammaDelta Therapeutics which last year attracted a $100m deal with Takeda for its cell-based immunotherapies for cancer and auto-immune diseases.

“This is an exciting time in medical and scientific innovation to launch our new fund and we look forward to building on our recent achievements,” said Haines.

Article by
Phil Taylor

9th July 2018

From: Marketing



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