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$300M Fund to Back European Life Science Companies

Currency Dice

(MD4 Group, Flickr)

15 June 2017. A new investment fund plans to invest $300 million in European life science and biotechnology companies in the later stages of their product development. The fund, created and managed by life science venture capital company Medicxi, based in London and Geneva, includes contributions from drug maker Novartis, the European Investment Fund, and Verily Life Sciences, a division of Alphabet, parent company of Google.

The Medicxi Growth 1 fund aims to fill a financing gap faced by life science and biotech companies in Europe as they move from start-up into sustained growth. Medicxi says American companies in health care and biotechnology are able to find local financing for their growth stages. and the company anticipates filling that role for European enterprises.

The Medicxi Growth 1 fund expects to finance companies, either privately owned or public, with at least one asset in intermediate-stage clinical trials or later, and with a good chance of becoming an approved pharmaceutical product. Giuseppe Zocco, co-founder and partner at Medicxi, will lead the fund.

“This late-stage growth fund,” says Zocco in a company statement, “will support ambitious European entrepreneurs who are willing and able to build innovative companies through advanced clinical development and market entry, rather than pursuing a premature and generally sub-optimal early exit through partnering or M&A.”

Medicxi is an offshoot of the venture capital company Index Ventures in London and San Francisco that began sector-specific funds, including one for the life sciences in 2012, which received support from pharma companies Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline. In February 2016, Medicxi started up its own life science fund, Medicxi 1, providing €210 million ($US 234 million) to health care and biotech start-ups in Europe.

As reported recently in Science & Enterprise, Alphabet is making more investments in life science enterprises, both through its Verily subsidiary and venture capital division, which in the past year made deals in biotechnology companies developing therapeutics, including stem cell transplants, treatments for infectious diseases, and cancer immunotherapies.

The European Investment Fund provides financing for small and medium-size enterprises in European Union countries, with capital raised on its own or provided by European Investment Bank, the EU, or member countries. The fund provides equity, loans, and micro-finance through intermediaries, like venture funds and banks, not to companies themselves.

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Disclosure: The author owns shares in Johnson & Johnson

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