Updated

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Avian Flu

Kleiner Perkins, one of Silicon Valley’s best known venture capital firms (backer of Google, Sun, Netscape…), has raised the nation’s first fund dedicated to bio-defense and preventing pandemics.

It is significant because no other venture capital firm has raised such a focused fund. We’ll update tomorrow morning with a link to our full Mercury News story on this (here it is).

With Bill Joy as a partner (or just go directly to this Wired article), you’d expect Kleiner to be the first mover in this realm. And Kleiner’s leading light, John Doerr, has also been vocal on the threat of avian flu recently.

The $200 million pandemic fund, formally called the “KPCB Pandemic and Bio Defense Fund,” comes at a time of heightened public awareness about the risks of a breakout of avian flu and other diseases

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The news is joined by an announcement by Kleiner that it has also finished raising its twelfth fund, at $600 million.

For the tealeaf readers, check out Kleiner’s new home page. They’ve spiffed it up, relying on a search box at the top right-hand corner — a sort of Googlesque simplicity. And a new logo. And even a new saying: “Relationship and Venture Capital.” (Here’s a cache of old site.)

See the press releases in extended entry.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Forms $200 Million KPCB Pandemic and Bio Defense Fund

MENLO PARK, CA., February 16, 2006 • Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) • a leader in providing relationship and venture capital SM services to entrepreneurs • announced the formation of a new fund, the KPCB Pandemic and Bio Defense Fund.

The goal of the new $200 million fund is to accelerate innovations for worldwide pandemic preparedness and global health over the next three years, with a focus on surveillance and detection, diagnostics, vaccines and drugs.

“We will invest in companies developing fundamentally new platforms for detection, prevention and treatment of global, pathogenic infectious diseases,” said Brook Byers. “More than 15 million people worldwide die each year from infectious diseases. Over one third of the world’s population lacks access to essential drugs.This new fund addresses the immediate requirement for the science, pharmaceutical, and government sectors to close significant gaps in global public health preparedness.”

John Doerr added, “We will invest to accelerate innovation, and we’re in a hurry. We hope even a mild pandemic never recurs. But we must prepare for the worst. Everyone should have access to these innovations. They must be offered at universally affordable prices to the developing world.”

“We have both an urgent and long-term view of the problem,” said Beth Seidenberg, M.D. “The 1918 pandemic resulted in more American deaths than any other event in our nation’s history. The worldwide effects were just as staggering. Even today, ordinary annual influenza causes half a million deaths a year worldwide. Innovations for pandemic preparedness can help our neglected global public health system address potential pathogenic disease.”

KPCB will work with biotech companies, universities, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies worldwide, and other venture firms to back and encourage innovations in pandemic preparedness. We welcome innovators, investors and other partners to join efforts. The fund’s first investment is in BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: BCRX), an Alabama company with a portfolio of products in development including Peramivir, an influenza antiviral drug candidate. Dr. Seidenberg has joined its board of directors.

The fund will be managed by the Partners of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The fund’s investors are the same as those in KPCB’s other venture capital funds.

KPCB began investing in and helping build life sciences companies in 1977 when it was the founding investor in Genentech. Since then, the firm and its Partners have backed entrepreneurs in 100 life science companies working in every area medicine, including cardiology, cancer, neurology, immune system diseases, ophthalmology, and molecular diagnostics.

Since its founding in 1972, KPCB has backed entrepreneurs in over 450 ventures, including AOL, Align Technology, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq Computer, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Genomic Health, Google, IDEC Pharmaceuticals, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Lotus, LSI Logic, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Verisign and Xilinx. More than 150 of the firm’s portfolio companies have gone public. Many other ventures have achieved success through mergers and acquisitions.

All inquiries: Jennifer Graham (415) 591-4016, jennifer_graham@sfo.bm.com

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Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Forms $600 Million KPCB XII Fund
Announces $100 Million Greentech Initiative

MENLO PARK, CA., February 16, 2006 • Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) • a leader in providing relationship and venture capital SM services to entrepreneurs • announced the formation of its most recent fund, KPCB XII.

KPCB XII plans to invest $600 million over roughly a three-year period, backing entrepreneurs and innovation in information technology, life sciences and other fast-growing industries. Ongoing initiatives include mobile and web services, personalized medicine and medical devices, and communications and semiconductor technologies. In addition, today KPCB is announcing a new $100 million initiative in “green technologies.”

For five years, KPCB has quietly backed greentech entrepreneurs, including Lilliputian (battery technology), Miasole (solar cell technology), and a revolutionary solid oxide fuel cell maker. Two other ventures wish to remain “stealth.”

“Entrepreneurs are passionate about pursuing clean and affordable water, power and transportation. We’re seeing exciting, sustainable and scalable ventures, including biofuels (like ethanol), energy storage and energy conservation,” said John Doerr. “Greentech could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century. Disruptive innovations are possible because of recent advances in chemistry, genetics, and material science. American and world leaders are calling for alternatives to $60-a-barrel oil, and entrepreneurs are rising to the challenge.”

KPCB XII partners include KPCB XI partners Brook Byers, John Denniston, John Doerr, Juliet Flint, Joe Lacob, Ray Lane, Aileen Lee, Matt Murphy, Ajit Nazre, Ted Schlein, Risa Stack, Ph.D, and Trae Vassallo. New partners added since the KPCB XI fund closed include Bill Joy, Randy Komisar, Ying Lee, Dana Mead, Ellen Pao, and Beth Seidenberg, M.D.

“The pace of innovation is accelerating, as three billion consumers enter the global marketplace,” said Brook Byers. “We are privileged to invest this fund in these exciting times. Entrepreneurs will make major improvements in health care, including in personalized medicine, medical devices and therapeutics.”

Ray Lane added, “Entrepreneurs and KPCB partners are building outstanding companies, by working closer than ever, typically with more than one partner per venture. We greatly appreciate the long-standing support of our limited partners. Their steadfast commitment enables us to be patient, diligent and dedicated, and to take bigger risks.” KPCB’s institutional investors have remained largely unchanged over the past 20 years.

Since its founding in 1972, KPCB has backed entrepreneurs in over 450 ventures, including AOL, Align Technology, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq Computer, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Genomic Health, Google, IDEC Pharmaceuticals, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Lotus, LSI Logic, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, Verisign and Xilinx. More than 150 of the firm’s portfolio companies have gone public. Many other ventures have achieved success through mergers and acquisitions.

All inquiries: Jennifer Graham (415) 591-4016, jennifer_graham@sfo.bm.com