Lexington buys into bioventure funds

Abingworth Bioventures III and IV invested in bone and joint medication company Galápagos and women's health company Gynesonics, respectively.

Lexington Partners has purchased two fund stakes from healthcare charitable foundation The Wellcome Trust, according to UK regulatory notices.

The funds include Abingworth Bioventures III and Abingworth Bioventures IV, which are managed by life sciences and healthcare investor Abingworth Management.

Abingworth Bioventures III is a 2001-vintage fund that raised $225 million. Limited partners in the fund include Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Partners Group and Invesco Private Capital, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division.

The fund is partially liquidated, having exited 12 of its 15 portfolio companies, according to Abingworth’s website.

Abingworth exited Belgium-based bone and joint medication company Galápagos by taking it public in 2005, after initially acquiring the company in 2002. The most recent exit was the merger of cancer treatment company Astex Therapeutics with US cancer drugs firm SuperGen in 2011.

Fund III still owns three companies including Oxford-based Chroma Therapeutics. Since initially investing in the company in 2001, Abingworth has provided management and seed financing to develop new treatments for cancer and inflammatory disorders.

Abingworth Bioventures IV launched in 2003 and raised $350 million. LPs in the fund include Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, Northleaf Capital Partners and Sherman Fairchild Foundation, according to PEI data.

Fund IV is also partially liquidated, having exited half of its 18 investments. Exits include bacterial toxin drug company Syntaxin, which was sold last year to French pharmaceutical company Ispen, according to Abingworth’s website.

Current investments include Zogenix, a San Diego-based company that treats the central nervous system and women’s health company Gynesonics.

In May, The Wellcome Trust revealed plans to sell a $750 million portfolio of venture capital fund stakes in an auction led by Cogent Partners.

“The Wellcome Trust is on record in recent annual reports as pursuing a policy of concentrating holdings into fewer, larger positions,” a spokesperson from The Wellcome Trust said at the time.

The Wellcome Trust declined to comment on this recent transaction.

Lexington purchased the Abingworth fund interests using its Lexington Capital Partners VIII, which launched last year with a $8 billion target. The fund had collected at least $6 billion as of earlier this month.

Fund VIII has already deployed about $1.25 billion, a source with knowledge of the situation had disclosed.

Lexington declined to comment.