March 19, 2014
Ysios Capital, a major venture capital firm based in Barcelona, is looking for $139 million to seed a new investment fund that will back promising med tech, diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies.
The fund, dubbed Ysios BioFund II, will raise €100 million and focus on companies in Europe and North America. Plans call for targeting up to 15 companies and coinvesting with other international investors and corporate venture funds. Ysios Capital noted it has invested in companies in the past that achieved exits by way of acquisitions through buyers including St. Jude Medical ($STJ) and Amgen ($AMGN).
Ysios previously launched Ysios BioFund I, a nearly $96 million fund (€69 million), in 2008.
Among Ysios’ portfolio companies: STAT-Diagnostica, which is developing an in vitro diagnostic system that blends molecular diagnostic/immunoassay tech into a single device.
So why launch another life sciences VC fund? Ysios managing partner Joël Jean-Mairet said in a statement that “life sciences continues to be a very attractive sector for specialized investors.” He also noted that healthcare systems continue to face “a very significant number of unmet needs” plus challenges with reimbursement and an aging population. In other words, there’s still opportunity to be found.
In recent months, other global VC firms have demonstrated that they feel the same way. Dutch VC outfit Gilde Healthcare announced the rollout last November of a $200 million fund with plans to invest, in part, in promising early and mid-stage medical device, diagnostic and drug companies focused on developing lower-cost products. Also last fall, OrbiMed unveiled a massive $735 million venture capital fund designed for medical device, diagnostic, biopharmaceutical and healthcare IT investments. Versant has also said it is raising a new $250 million fund for devices, diagnostics and other life sciences investments.
Last year, Third Rock, Atlas and Frasier also rolled out life science-centered funds worth more than $1 billion.
By Mark Hollmer