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GSK, Johnson & Johnson Join in Life Science Venture Fund

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The London-based venture capital company Index Ventures unveiled a new investment fund for early-stage life sciences companies, with pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, among the investors. The Index Life VI fund, valued at €150 million ($US230 million), is the first for Index Ventures devoted solely to the life sciences.

The company says the fund is aimed at promising early-stage enterprises with one or two projects, rather than firms with multiple undertakings. New companies in Europe will be considered first for support, but also those in the U.S. that have first-in-class or best-in-class solutions addressing unmet medical needs.

Index Ventures says it will form an advisory board with representatives from GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen, as well as five other executives appointed by the company, to assess potential investment opportunities. The company aims to advise and support its portfolio companies rather than taking an ownership position. In some cases, Index Ventures will offer its facilities as an incubator for start-ups.

While this fund is the first Index Ventures vehicle focusing only on life sciences, the company has previously backed biotechnology and pharmaceutical enterprises in other funds. In start-up rounds, Index Ventures has invested in Genmab A/S, PanGenetics B/V, Aegerion Inc., Addex Pharmaceuticals Ltd., ParAllele BioScience Inc., Molecular Partners AG, and ProFibrix BV. In later-stage rounds, Index Ventures has supported Micromet and Ariad, Inc.

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