Two big announcements for bioscience companies on the lookout for funding this week, with the launch by the Wellcome Trust of a £200m investment business for healthcare and life science and a new tie-up between Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) and Paris-based venture investor, Kurma Life Sciences Partners.
With £200m initial capital taken from the Wellcome Trusts’s endowment, its new investment business - currently using the working title, Project Sigma - aims to “identify and invest in promising healthcare businesses, which will typically be at an early stage in their development with significant potential to grow.”
Nigel Keen has been announced as chairman of Sigma and Martin Murphy as CEO. The Wellcome Trust says it is in the final stages of “closing the necessary agreements for operation of the Sigma business,” and will also announce the new brand identity in due course.
Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "The Wellcome Trust is known as an investor that takes a long-term view. Sigma will extend this successful approach to direct investments in emerging healthcare technologies, to give small and medium-sized companies the support they require to fulfil their potential.”
The memorandum of understanding announced between SBC and KLS Partners, while smaller in terms of headline sums, has the potential to benefit entrepreneurs and young companies in Cambridge just as greatly, not least because of the geographical proximity of the SBC campus.
Under the terms of the agreement, SBC, the UK's first open innovation bioscience campus, will work with KLS Partners “on establishing and funding new life sciences companies” with smaller proof of concept funding also available as part of the funding mix. The partners will work together and independently on sourcing investments, from both academia and the pharmaceutical industry.
Investment will come from the €51m Kurma BioFund 1, while fledgeling businesses will be incubated at the SBC.
SBC chief executive, Martino Picardo said his organisation was “working on various mechanisms for the generation of deal flow,” and will be launching them shortly.
The £38m development officially opened for business last month, welcoming its first tenant, Aptiv Solutions.
UPDATE: Index Ventures announced on March 21 that it too is launching a new life sciences fund. The €150m fund is its first dedicated solely to the sector and includes investment from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the venture capital affiliate of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies, part of Johnson & Johnson.
The fund will follow Index's "asset centric" model, focusing on investment in companies with just one or two projects, rather than with multiple programs. According to the release, it will consider opportunities across Europe, primarily, but also across the US, "with assets that have first-in-class or best-in-class mechanisms of action and target areas of unmet medical need."blog comments powered by Disqus