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RHO Ventures Raises $425M, Forward Ventures Raises $256M in New VC Funds

NEW YORK, May 31 - Venture capital firms RHO Ventures and Forward Ventures have raised new funds worth $435 and $256 million, respectively, for investments in information technology and life science companies, the firms said Thursday. 

Forward Ventures will focus specifically on funding companies in biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and biotechnology, according to a statement. RHO Ventures will invest in healthcare-related businesses as well as in telecommunications and information technology. For both companies, these funds represent the fourth round of capital raised so far.

Forward said that it would invest two-thirds of its capital in seed and early-stage companies located in the San Diego area and on the West Coast, and the other third in late-stage companies located in the US and internationally. The fund has already invested in 12 startup life sciences companies, including eight in the San Diego area. With previous funds, Forward has invested in companies such as Axys Pharmaceuticals, Corixa, and CombiChem.

"This new fund will enable Forward to take advantage of the many investment opportunities emerging from the technological revolution that is driving change in the life sciences," said Forward managing member Stan Fleming in a statement. "Our investments will be focused on powerful new technologies, such as cancer vaccine immunotherapeutics, degenerative disease therapeutics and diagnostics, aimed at solving huge unmet healthcare needs."

RHO announced the closing of an initial round of funding late last year. Since then, the firm has invested in four companies, including Diversa, Human Genome Sciences, MedImmune, and Boston-based Archemix, a developer of protein microarrays. 

"Notwithstanding the current pullback in the public markets, we believe technology innovation will remain a powerful force driving economic growth in the coming decade, Joshua Ruch, a managing partner at RHO, said in a statement. "This should provide an excellent backdrop for the companies in which RHO Ventures IV seeks to invest."

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