Forward Ventures First Close on $77M –

SAN DIEGO – Forward Ventures held a close on the first $77 million of its $150 million-targeted Forward Ventures IV LP on June 30, said Julia Reynolds, director of research. The firm started raising the fund in January and expects to hold a final close before the end of the year, she said, adding that additional interim closes are unlikely.

Forward Ventures plans to invest the new vehicle in about 20 to 25 seed- to late-stage companies, with investments ranging between $5 million and $10 million over several rounds, Reynolds said. The firm will back companies in the health-care, life sciences, biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical informatics and medical-related Internet software sectors. Forward Ventures is open to investing throughout the U.S., but targets the West Coast, especially when working with early-stage companies.

The firm’s previous fund, the $42.5 million Forward Ventures III LP, which held a final close in August 1997, has backed some 17 companies, with investments ranging from $250,000 to $3 million, Reynolds said.

At press time, Fund IV had invested $1.5 million in Therapeutics Genomics Inc., a company focused on cancer genomics, and $2 million in Favrille Inc., a cancer and auto immune disease therapy company based in San Diego, Reynolds said.

This is the first fund for which Forward Ventures has targeted institutions as limited partners. Among the newcomers are Fairview Venture Fund, Yasuda Mutual Life Insurance Co., First Chicago Investment Corp., Gimv NV, Henkel KGaA and Indofin U.S.A. Inc. They join San Diego County Employees Retirement Association, JAFCO Co. Ltd. of Japan and Private Equity Technology Partners CV of Zurich, all of which invested with the firm previously. Forward Ventures retains a 2.5% management fee and an 80%/20% carried interest split, Reynolds said.

The firm is managed by General Partners Jeffrey Sollender, Standish Fleming and Ivor Royston; Venture Partner Han Chiu; and Reynolds.