Venture capital group Medicxi has announced a $300m late-stage life sciences fund that is backed by Novartis, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Verily Life Sciences, the healthcare division of Google's holding company Alphabet.
The Medicxi Growth 1 (MG1) fund will invest in European biotechnology groups looking to run trials of experimental drugs to help "expand exciting opportunities into more mature companies". European life science entrepreneurs currently do not have access to as much local financial support as their US-based counterparts, Medicxi said.
Verily will appoint two members to the fund's scientific advisory board, Medicxi said.
MG1 will invest in private or public companies with at least one asset in Phase II or beyond that Medicxi believes can become a licenced pharmaceutical product, meeting unmet medical needs.
Giuseppe Zocco, co-founder of Medicxi said: "This late-stage growth fund 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 suboptimal early exit through partnering or mergers and acquisitions."
Medicxi has raised $500 million of new capital since 2016 to invest across early and late stage companies, it said.
Life sciences expert Russell Booker of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind out-Law.com said: "This new fund is welcome, although it is disappointing that it is only set up for companies with assets in Phase II and beyond, and does not address the needs of very high risk, very early stage companies."
The UK is currently reviewing 'patient capital' or long-term capital investment to identify barriers to access to long-term finance for growing firms. The UK government confirmed the terms of reference for the review earlier this year, having announced it would take place in the Autumn Statement last year.
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