The Top 15 European Biotech VCs

top 15 european VC

Biotech wouldn’t exist without Venture Capitalists. These investors bring the cash necessary to run clinical trials or conduct the scaling-up of processes, along with many years of experience. Though admittedly Europe definitely hasn’t got as much money floating around as the US, there are many major Biotech VCs in Europe … Here are 15 of the biggest EU VCs:

Note: I’ve only listed non-corporate investors and only VCs having their “headquarters” in Europe

Update October 15th: A lot of readers asked me how the ranking has been made. I used several criteria including money under management, past successes, location, foundation date, reputation and also my personal experience.

N°1: Woodford – the British Biotech Superinvestor woodford_logo

Location: London, UK

Foundation: 2014

Money under management: €1.1Bn – includes investment in public established companies as well.

Managing partner:


Neil Woodford

Portfolio companies:woodford_portofolio

Comment: Neil Woodford is one the most respected British fund managers. His 30 years of experience has been  re-injected into the fund to assure returns on the massive amount of money he’s raised. It’s simple: it’s the biggest UK fund ever made, whatever field we consider. And as of last month, he had already re-invested 75% of the money, mostly into European Biotechs.

N°2: Sofinnova Partners – (“le” French VC)

sofinnovapartnersLocation: Paris, France

Foundation: 1972

Money under management: €1.2Bn

Managing partner:


Denis Lucquin

Portfolio companies:sofinnova_portofolio

Comment: Sofinnova is French largest VC company and probably one of the oldest in Europe. It invested in several great success-story, such as Actelion, DBV and Stentys. It has some portfolio companies in France but its focus is pan-european. I met Denis Lucquin almost two and a half years ago during our “Tour de France” and I was really impressed by his large experience and his vision of the European biotech ecosystem.


N°3: TVM – das Deutsche VC

tvm_capital_logoLocation: Munich, Germany

Foundation: 1984

Money under management: €900M

Managing partner:


Helmut Schühsler

Portfolio companies:


Comment: TVM (Life Science Venture Capital) is the oldest German Biotech VC company. It’s pretty much invested in all German Biotech success-stories – Qiagen, Direvo, Jerini, Morphosys, Evotec, etc. Ultimately, it has played an essential role in building up the German Biotech ecosystem, to the N°1 in Europe in terms of companies and people employed.

N°4: Abingworth – UK’s oldest Biotech fund  

logo_abingworthLocation: London, UK

Foundation: 1973

Money under management: €1.11Bn ($1.25Bn) – includes investments in public established companies as well.

Managing partner:


Stephen Bunting

Portfolio companies:

abingworth_portofolioComment: Abingworth is way older than me and is from the same generation as Sofinnova. Their last fund, Abingworth Bioventures VI, is theoretically the 6th (or the 9th if we count several rounds for the same fund). Having so many funds under management is a good sign of success for a VC, and the Bioventures VI is already on a good track. CRISPR Therapeutics, to name only one of their portfolio companies, is the biggest CRISPR company in Europe and could play a key role in the industrialization of this revolutionary gene editing technology.

P.s. Nevertheless, I have the impression that Abingworth has been recently eclipsed by Neil Woodford.

N°5: Wellington – TVM’s neighbour


Location: Munich, Germany

Foundation: 1998

Money under management: €800M

Managing partner:


Rolf Christof Dienst

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Wellington is the second big VC of Bavaria, sitting next to its neighbor TVM. It has been successful over the last 17 years, by investing in companies such as Actelion, Medigene or mtm laboratories (which was acquired for €190M by Roche in 2011).

N°6: HBM Healthcare Investments – the leading Swiss Biotech investor 

hbm bioventures

Location: Zug, Switzerland (and the Cayman Islands …)

Foundation: 2001

Money under management: €775M (846M CHF)

Managing partner:


Hans Peter Hasler

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Surprisingly, HBM is publicly listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange. It seems to have done well in the past few years, having many successful companies in their portfolio. Nabriva is an Austrian Biotech which just raised 0M on the NASDAQ and that could be a good return on investment for HBM.

P.s. It seems like being in Switzerland is not enough for capital optimization, adding the Cayman Islands on top of its EU routes is even better….

N°7: Sunstone – the largest independent Scandinavian VC


Location: Copenhagen, Denmark

Foundation: 2007

Money under management: €700M

Managing partner:


Peter Benson

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Sunstone is THE independent Life Science Venture Capitalist of Scandinavia (almost). It is the moost major VC aside Novo (the huge investment arm of Novo Nordisk) or Lundbeck. Sunstone picked up the best Nordic Biotechs, including the three mentioned above.

I had the chance to visit during our Denmark Tour (just released few weeks ago).

N°8: Seventures – the Microbiome investor

logo_seventureLocation: Paris, France

Foundation: 1997

Money under management: €500M

Managing partner:


Isabelle de Cremoux

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Seventure have invested in Life Sciences since 1998, with successful exits such as Santaris (sold to Roche €450M in August 2014). More interestingly, Seventure is a strong believer in the development of Microbiome research. It created the World-first €100M investment fund dedicated to this new and promising field. First investments includes Enterome and Eligo Bioscience, two of the most prosiming Microbiome French startups.

Ps: I met Isabelle de Cremoux at the last BIO-Europe in Paris and it was great to see her passion for this sector. It was also great to include her and interesting to see that she is the only women of this ranking. 

N°9: Dievini – the Biotech investment arm of Dietmar Hopp (the European Bill Gates, founder of SAP)dievini_logo

Location: Walldorf, Germany (next to Heidelberg/Mannheim)

Foundation: 2005

Money under management: +- €900M

Managing partner:


Friedrich von Bohlen

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Dievini is one of the largest venture capitalists in Germany. It was founded with a part of the fortune of Dietmar Hopp, the famous founder of the software giant SAP. Its flagship company is CureVac, the most advanced company to bring mRNA drugs on the market and challenging the cash-magnet Moderna from Boston.

PS: Joachim interviewed Von Bohlen a few months ago for one of our Tour, click here to watch the video.

N°10: Forbion Partners – the leading Dutch VC


Location: Naarden, Netherlands (next to Amsterdam)

Foundation: 2000

Money under management: €540M

Managing partner:


Holger Reithinger

Portfolio companies:


Comment: The Netherlands is not the first Europe Biotech ecosystem we think of (because of the small size of the country) but it has some great examples. I was positively surprised when we selected companies for our map. I believe Forbion played an important role in this success. It invested in the best companies the country -and its Belgian neighbor – has much to offer, as uniQure, Galapagos and arGEN-X illustrate so well.

Ps: Forbion is also very good at public relations (nice website, lot of information available for journalists and communication on their own with press agencies). I think its a good thing since it’s often underestimated by VCs on this side of the Atlantic.

 N°11: Truffle Capital – an Entrepreneur and Investor at the same time


Location: Paris, France

Foundation: 2001

Money under management: €720M (Internet and Biotech)

Managing partner:


Philippe Pouletty

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Truffle is well-known thanks to its iconic life science partner Philippe Pouletty. He is probably one of the biggest bio-entrepeneurs in France. His speciality? He co-founds the companies he invests in by partnering with an accomplished scientist (Miroslav Radman in the case of Deinove, Alain Carpentier in the case of Carmat etc.). All in one, he has contributed a lot to the growth of the French Biotech ecosystem, even if it’s hard to measure.

N°12: Malin – the young Irish fund


Location: Dublin, Ireland

Foundation: 2015

Money under management: €330M ($380M)

Managing partner:


Martin Kelly, CEO

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Malin is a brand new Irish VC which IPO’ed this year to raise €330M. Its CEO, Martin Kelly, is one of the most well-known Biotech leaders in Ireland. He was the former CEO of Elan and has engineered a $8.6 billion sale. The fund is obliged to invest in Ireland, as a part of the money is from the Irish Government, but it has also crossed the Irish Sea to invest 25% of the money in the UK.

N°13: Syncona – the Wellcome Trust VC Arm


Location: London, UK

Foundation: 2012

Money under management: Not disclosed – Wellcome Trust “provides” £700M per year but not only through Syncona

Managing partner:


Martin Murphy, CEO

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Wellcome Trust is a massive foundation from the UK with an endowment of £18Bn. It’s interesting to see it has since opened its own venture capital arm, and that all the benefits will go back to the foundation focus in Medical research.

N°14: Edmond de Rothschild Life Sciences, the old family investment organization  


Location: Paris, France

Foundation: 2000

Money under management: €450M (specifically for life sciences)

Managing partner:


Pierre-Michel Passy

Portfolio companies:


Comment: Edmond de Rothschild was a French member of the Rothschild banking family. Born in 1845, he helped manage the massive fortune accumulated by the Magnat family over 250 years. Today, the group Edmond de Rothschild is active in Private Banking and Asset Management. This includes the life science branch, which is the second biggest in France judging by the amount of capital under management.

 N°15: Ysios Capital, representing Southern Europe 


Location: Barcelona, Spain

Foundation: 2008

Money under management: €125M

Managing partner:


Joël Jean-Mairet

Portfolio companies:ysios_portofolio

Comment: Ysios is the leading Spanish independent VC. Its capital under management is clearly smaller than the leading European funds above, but I wanted to represent Southern Europe in this ranking. Ysios is a young fund that already has several interesting investments, such as leading the €36.6M Serie A of Mallorcan Sanifit with Rothschild and Forbion.

Overall, this ranking clearly shows Europe has a strong set of VCs. Of course, it’s not as high as the US but I think it is pretty underestimated for its clout. 

For entrepreneurs (and any one who wants to have an overview of Europe’s Biotech VC industry), I hope this ranking was helpful to you.

It would be great also to hear from you. Which VC do you consider the best in Europe? Who did I forget?

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