PARIS, March 24 /PRNewswire/ --

- Private Equity International Award recognizes Sofinnova's investment leadership in promising start-ups; 2009 off to strong start in portfolio company MA

Sofinnova Partners (, a Paris-based venture capital firm, announced today that it has been awarded the 2008 European Venture Capital Firm of the Year by the publication Private Equity International (PEI) and its on-line version, Private Equity Online (PEO). The award recognizes Sofinnova's investment expertise and leadership in Western Europe's technology and life sciences industries throughout 2008.

We are thrilled to be recognized for our solid investment style during these turbulent economic times, said Jean Schmitt, managing partner at Sofinnova Partners. Since our creation in 1972, Sofinnova has prided itself on being more than just a source of funding: we feel that strategic venture capital plays a key role in the development of a portfolio company, and the Sagem Wireless spin-off in 2008, in particular, was an example of this approach.

Sofinnova orchestrated the spin-off of Sagem Wireless from Safran Group, structuring Sagem Wireless as a future proof handset maker. The spin-off was completed in December 2008. Sofinnova has a history of working alongside companies with promising technologies and nurturing them from inception to exit.

Sofinnova's 2008 investments totaled 88 million euros, split between 70 million euros in follow-on rounds in 22 life sciences and technology companies, and 18 million as lead investor in three new financings, Creabilis (Italy), Mydeco (UK) and newly spun-off Sagem Wireless (France). Sofinnova makes a point of working with serial entrepreneurs, which in 2008 included, among others, Jean-Louis Dasseux, CEO of Cerenis (formerly with Esperion), Philippe Dro, CEO of GlycoVaxyn (former CEO of Endoart), Mydeco's founder, Brent Hoberman (founder of, Steve Ives, CEO of Taptu (former CEO of Trigenix), Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx (former CEO of Oxford Asymmetry) and Simon Wilkinson, CEO of Purple Labs (founder of Magic4).

In 2008, Sofinnova also set the stage for two exits that were completed during the first two months of 2009.

We have seen the merger of Purple Labs and Esmertec to form Myriad, creating the European leader in software development for mobile phones. In addition, we recently announced the acquisition of CoreValve by Medtronic for $700 million plus additional payments, one of the largest trade sales of a private, venture-backed medical device company in history and Sofinnova Partners' largest win in its 35-year history added Denis Lucquin, managing partner at Sofinnova Partners. We foresee strong MA activity in 2009 for our portfolio companies: technologies making a real difference for patients or for customers will always be valuable-such is the beauty of venture. This proves the non-correlation of venture to the rest of the economy.

The PEI/PEO Awards are the only awards voted for by industry members themselves, with nearly 60,000 votes cast across all categories. Award winners were announced March 2 on PEO's web site and will be published in detail in its 2008 Private Equity Annual Review. The second annual Private Equity International Awards Global Winners' Celebration will take place on June 4 in London. Specific votes per individual category were not disclosed.

About Sofinnova Partners

Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, France. For over 35 years, the firm has backed nearly 500 companies at different stages of development - pure creations, spin-offs, as well as turnaround situations - and worked alongside Europe's key entrepreneurs in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors. With more than EUR1 billion of funds under management, Sofinnova Partners' experienced team and hands-on approach in nurturing and supporting portfolio companies through to exit have created market leaders and multiplied revenues, from landmark historical investments including Genentech and Biogen to more recent successes such as Actelion, Vistaprint and CoreValve. With a global mindset, the firm has offices in Shanghai, China and a sister organization in San Francisco, California. Please visit for more information on Sofinnova's team and portfolio.

Media contact: Christina Aplington, Ballou PR for Sofinnova, Tel: +33(0)1-42-22-24-10,