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European support for first close of Forbion Growth Opportunities Fund

    Date: 09 July 2020
  • European Investment Fund (EIF) backs new fund to invest in late-stage European life science companies with support under Investment plan for Europe.
  • EUR 35 million investment in Growth Opportunities Fund, which now reaches first close at EUR 185 million (USD 208 million).
  • Other investors include Pantheon, Lilly, Horizon Therapeutics plc, KfW Capital, Belgian Growth Fund and New Waves Investments.

Forbion, a leading European life sciences venture capital firm, today announces the first close at EUR 185 million (USD 208 million) of its new Forbion Growth Opportunities Fund (“Forbion Growth"), focused on investing in late-stage European life sciences companies. The first close was reached with a EUR 35 million investment from the EIF, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). The EFSI is the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, which recently exceeded a landmark figure of EUR 500 billion in mobilised investments.

Apart from the European Investment Fund, Forbion was also backed by return investors such Pantheon and KfW Capital, as well as a number of new investors, including Eli Lilly, Horizon Therapeutics plc (Nasdaq: HZNP), Belgian Growth Fund and New Waves Investments. Forbion Growth will focus on later-stage investments particularly in European biotech companies, developing novel therapies for areas of high medical need. The Fund will target this market segment with three distinct strategies: providing private growth capital for mature clinical development assets, providing pre-IPO funding to companies aiming to pursue a public listing in the near-term and providing capital injections, supporting existing, under-valued public companies. In all cases, Forbion Growth aims to take leading positions with an investment size of up to EUR 30 million per deal.

Forbion started the fund-raising process for Forbion Growth in February 2020 and expects to complete the Fund by the end of this year. The goal is to raise EUR 250M and to build a portfolio of 8-12 investments in the most promising European growth-stage life sciences companies.

Sander Slootweg, Managing Partner and co-founder of Forbion, said: “The market for late-stage, private European life sciences investments is already sizable at EUR 2 billion per annum and rapidly growing. Despite the de-risked nature of the late-stage clinical assets in these companies, this market segment is still underserved. As a result, many companies and assets stall in late-stage development, due to a lack of specific funding. With our dedicated Growth Fund and specialized team, we are well-positioned to optimally exploit this opportunity and ensure that new, impactful treatments and therapies will make their way to patients and doctors.”

“This EIF investment reflects the importance of sustaining innovative players in the field of life sciences and biotech, particularly in the later stages of their growth, which is a key moment if we want to increase the chances of creating the next global champions here in Europe. This is made all the more crucial by the ongoing situation, and the EIF is very happy to be able to scale its support for companies that can help tackle tomorrow’s health challenges,” added Alain Godard, Chief Executive at the European Investment Fund.

European Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said: “Investing in European biotech companies that are developing novel treatments for serious illnesses allows scientists to make ground- breaking discoveries that can transform our lives. This is a smart use of EU funds and I congratulate the founders of Forbion for their initiative.”

Dirk Kersten, General Partner of Forbion, added: “We have assembled a world-class team and Advisory Group to manage our new Growth Fund. Wouter Joustra, General Partner, and Anastasia Karpova, Principal, both joined us from Kempen, a leading Life Sciences boutique bank in Europe. In addition, Carlo Incerti, former Chief Medical Officer at Sanofi-Genzyme, and Patrick Vink, former Chief Operating Officer at Cubist Pharmaceuticals, have joined the team as Operating Partners. This very experienced Growth team will work in a fully integrated manner with the broader Forbion organization.

“We will be looking to partner with world-class European companies and entrepreneurs to provide both capital and expertise, building the next generation of successful European Life Sciences companies.”


Background information:

Forbion is a dedicated life sciences venture capital firm with offices in The Netherlands, Germany and Singapore. Forbion invests in life sciences companies that are active in the (bio-) pharmaceutical space. Forbion’s investment team has built an impressive performance track record since the late nineties with successful investments in over 66 companies. Forbion manages well over EUR 1.25 billion across ten funds. Forbion is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. Besides financial objectives, Forbion selects investments that will positively affect the health and well-being of patients. Its investors include the EIF, through its European Recovery Programme (ERP), LfA, Dutch Venture Initiative (DVI) facilities and AMUF facilities and the KfW Capital through the Programme, “ERP – Venture Capital Fondsinvestments”. Forbion operates a joint venture with BGV, the manager of seed and early-stage funds, especially focused on Benelux and Germany. For more information, please visit: www.forbion.com.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. It provides first loss guarantees enabling the EIB to invest in more, often riskier projects. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI are expected to mobilise €514 bn in investment, supporting over 1.4 million start-ups and SMEs across the EU.

Press Contacts:

EIB Group:                     

Tim Smit, Tel: +352 691 28 64 23, t.smit@eib.org, Follow us on Twitter

Website: www.eib.org/press - Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

European Commission:

Siobhán Millbright, +32 460 75 73 61, Siobhan.millbright@ec.europea.eu

Forbion media:              

Melanie Toyne-Sewell/Phil Marriage, +44 (0) 7890 022 814 / +44 (0) 79644 79544, forbion@instinctif.com


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