By Mike Ward& Eric Pierce
Staff Writers

Europe's biotech entrepreneurs have yet another source of seed financing. Alan Goodman, one of Britain's leading biotech entrepreneurs, has announced a first closing of £12 million ($19 million) for Avlar BioVentures (Cambridge, U.K.), a seed and early-stage fund for U.K. and continental European opportunities. Investors in this round include 3i Group plc, BTG plc, the University of Cambridge, and Advanced Technology Management. The fund also received support through the European Union's Growth and Employment Initiative. Ultimately, Avlar seeks to create a pool of £20 million.

Avlar, formerly Quantum Healthcare Fund, plans to invest in companies focusing on therapeutics for unmet medical needs in cancer, inflammatory, and bone and metabolic disorders; drug delivery systems, medical diagnostic and imaging devices; and technology platforms in fields such as combinatorial chemistry, functional genomics, proteomics and gene therapy.

Goodman, who was the founder or co-founder of Peptide Therapeutics, Oxford BioMedica, Core Group, and CeNeS, plans for Avlar to take an active role in the early management of its companies, providing commercial, strategic and financial skills.

Avlar expects that its links with 3i's European network will help generate continental deal flow. 3i already has referred potential deals from Italy and Germany to the fund.