Steve Burrill: $350 million from Capital Fund IV will close this month

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Biotech industry observer G. Steven Burrill says he will soon have $350 million to invest in a broad range of companies.

Burrill late last week filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission on his $500 million Burrill Capital Fund IV. Burrill, in an e-mail Monday, said he’ll close $350 million of that fund by month’s end.

The fund has a broad mandate and average investments will be between $10 to $15 million. Burrill explained that it will invest in “healthcare on the innovation side” that includes  therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, tools and technology and bionanotech; “healthcare on the delivery side” such as digital health companies, healthcare informatics and services as well as in bioeneregy, biofuels, industrial biotech, agricultural biotech and  animal health biotech.

Many Minnesota companies would love to get a shot at that pot of money. Burrill has promised great things for the state, including an elusive $1 billion fund that he promised for his local Elk Run project more than two years ago.

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But that Capital Fund IV is neither the Elk Run fund nor a fund solely for Minnesota companies. Yet, some investment-worthy Minnesota or out-of-state companies willing to come to Elk Run, may get funding.

“While not limited to Elk Run (or the State of Minnesota) we would put the (money) there if the best opportunities existed to finance Minnesota companies or bring companies to Elk Run,” Burrill stated in his e-mail. “So, no change in our commitment to make Elk Run happen…”

Burrill did offer more details about his investment activities, confirming that $350 million being closed for the Burrill Capital Fund IV, $200 million will come from Rusnano. Rusnano, a $5 billion Russian-owned corporation, is “charged with stimulating development, creating and strengthening infrastructure and realizing projects in nanotechnology and the nanoindustry” per its LinkedIn profile.

Burrill also said that he is about to make a significant investment in a Minnesota company “that is also deep in discussions with Tower about locating at Elk Run.” That investment is coming from Capital Fund III, Burrill clarified. Tower Investments is the developer of the  2,000-acres-plus Elk Run mixed use development in Pine Island, Minnesota.

Burrill deferred details to Geoff Griffin, Elk Run’s local project manager and a Tower Investments contractor. An e-mail to Griffin and Steve Marks Sr., Tower’s CEO were not immediately returned. But a Minneapolis company – Recombinetics – which genetically engineers pigs for biomedical and agricultural purposes has shown interest in exactly such a move to the yet-to-be-built building at the biotech park in Elk Run.

Burrill’s relationship with other sovereign wealth funds continues apace. He said the company is raising a second fund for the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, which Burrill & Co. co-manages.  The closing of this $250 million fund is anticipated by the end of September. Another $135 million is being closed as part of a $250 million fund for Brazil. Burrill is also in the process of closing a $50 million fund for Chile, he said.

In other words, while investors may be reticent about a fund exclusively tied to a local project where a building is yet to be built, they are quite happy letting Burrill manage their money in a broader fund.

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Arundhati Parmar

By Arundhati Parmar

Arundhati Parmar is the Medical Devices Reporter at MedCity News. She has covered medical technology since 2008 and specialized in business journalism since 2001. Parmar has three degrees from three continents - a Bachelor of Arts in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India; a Masters in English Literature from the University of Sydney, Australia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. She has sworn never to enter a classroom again.
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