Epidarex Capital, the US-based international finance firm, has launched a £102m fund in Edinburgh for investment into the emerging life sciences sector.
According to The Scotsman, the UK Government has committed £50m through the British Business Bank, with the rest coming from the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Aberdeen, Strathclyde Pension Fund and several global investors.
It says it will aim to help university spinouts and other young life science companies grow by making initial investments of £2-£5 million.
Epidarex, which is based in Maryland, is a transatlantic venture firm that creates and invests in early-stage, high-potential life science companies in emerging research hubs. It partners at an early stage with top scientists and entrepreneurs in the UK and the US to develop products addressing major needs in the global healthcare market.
Epidarex managing partner Sinclair Dunlop said: “We are grateful for the tremendous support from the British Business Bank and from returning investors, which has allowed us to close this significant new UK fund.
“Epidarex’s differentiated approach to life science investing draws from our global network of experts and long-standing relationships with multiple highly regarded universities and research institutions.
“Epidarex can now significantly expand and support its portfolio of UK life science start-ups with the potential to both transform patient outcomes and generate competitive investor returns.”
The new fund has helped Lunac Therapeutics with a £2.65m investment which will allow them to grow from a University of Leeds spin-out to commercialise next-generation anticoagulants that minimise bleeding risk. Epidarex has said they will further investments in the next few months.
The British Business Bank funding comes from its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme which combines private and public money to provide early-stage venture capital.
Nadhim Zahawi, UK Minister for Business and Industry, said: “It is our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and that means backing innovation as we rebuild and revitalise the UK economy.
“The UK is already home to one of the strongest, most productive health and life science industries globally and today’s £50m government investment will help to ensure this crucial sector continues to thrive, transforming people’s lives.”
Steve Bates, chief executive of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), said: “Accessing world-class life science venture expertise is key to creating and scaling successful innovative UK life science companies.
“This has been a BIA policy objective for many years, so it’s fantastic to see UK life science industrial strategy in action – further enabling Epidarex to back some of Britain’s most promising life science entrepreneurs.
“Having transatlantic expertise and a base in Edinburgh gives Epidarex real insight in building new UK life science companies, including beyond the south-east of England – an area that has traditionally been under ventured despite the presence of world-leading research and innovation.”
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