Quaker Bio passes midpoint for second fund

Quaker BioVentures of Philadelphia closed on $164.85 million toward a $300 million second fund, according to a recent regulatory filing.

The firm started fund-raising last June with a $25 million commitment from the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System. Since then, it has added the Treasurer of the State of North Carolina and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System of Harrisburg, Pa.

Investors from its first fund include such large corporations as Aqua America, Cephalon, Merck & Co., Synthes and Wyeth. Quaker also previously raised capital from state pension funds and endowments, including Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The new fund will expand Quaker BioVentures’ geographic focus beyond the mid-Atlantic. About 11 of the firm’s 16 investments from its previous fund were Pennsylvania-based startups.

The Philadelphia-based firm will start looking for deals at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as Florida and Atlanta.

But the partners won’t be tackling China, India or any overseas market any time soon, according to Managing Partner Brenda Gavin.

The firm plans to expand its roster of investors, but no new managing partners were named in the regulatory filing. The current team includes three managing partners (Gavin, P. Sherrill Neff and Ira Lubert); two partners (Richard Kollender, Matthew Rieke); Vice President Geeta Vemuri and two analysts.

The firm, founded in 2001, has one company in registration for an IPO (Amicus Therapeutics Inc.) and one that has been acquired, according to Thomson Financial (publisher of VCJ). Amicus, which has raised about $145 million in financing, filed its IPO plans in late March. There was no indication, as of mid-May, of how much it expects to raise in its IPO. —Alexander Haislip