Ebb & Flow

Fundraising by private European biotech companies has rebounded in 2004 - at almost $1.2 billion it is already the third highest year ever - and the next couple of years could see more money available.

Last week, Advent Venture Partners raised £128 million ($250 million) in the first closing of its Advent Private Equity Fund IV (APEF IV). The fund will invest in life science, information and communications companies. Advent hopes to close APEF IV during the first half next year at £200 million ($390 million).

About 50% of the fund will be invested in life science opportunities. Like Advent's other funds, APEF IV will invest £5-£15 million ($9.8-$30 million) in any one company.

Advent has historically invested 65% of its funds in European biotech companies and 35% in U.S. biotech.

Two other funds are expected to close next year. Scuttlebutt suggests that Apax will be closing its Pan European Fund VI early next year at about E4 billion ($5.3 billion). The fund will be shared between six sectors, with about E500 million ($661 million) potentially assigned to healthcare deals.

The fund is expected to follow a similar strategy to Apax's Pan European Fund V, which raised E4.4 billion ($5.8 billion) in 2001. That fund, which has not yet been fully invested, covers both buyout opportunities and private equity investments. About 50% of Fund V was raised in the U.S., 40% from Europe and 10% from

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