The transatlantic life science VC Epidarex Capital has closed its third fund at a value of €112.7M, which will be used to build new biotech companies from emerging hubs across the UK.
The ‘Epidarex Capital III UK LP’ fund is based on a €55.2M (£50M) commitment from the British Business Bank. The remainder comes from existing and new investors including the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, and Aberdeen, as well as the Strathclyde Pension Fund.
A vast amount of UK biotech research and funding is concentrated in the so-called golden triangle of London, Oxford, and Cambridge. However, there is a significant amount of biotech innovation going on in smaller hubs such as Scotland, Manchester, and Leeds, which Epidarex aims to tap into with this latest fund.
Epidarex’s Managing Director, Sinclair Dunlop told me that the fund will be used to make between 12 and 15 investments in the UK over the next five to seven years, each with an investment of up to €5.5M.
The new fund will target companies working on a range of therapeutic areas. Its first investment, of almost €3M, founded the University of Leeds spinout Lunac Therapeutics, which is developing novel anticoagulants with a lower risk for bleeding than those currently available.
The deals will follow Epidarex’s philosophy of focusing on innovative, early-stage life science companies in markets with less venture financing options, as that is where they “see a clear gap and opportunity,” said Dunlop.
“Our approach is to build companies and put them on a firm foundation for growth from day one so they can become successful at attracting later stage funds – including many blue chip life science funds – to enable them to develop innovative products for patients and provide attractive returns for our investors.”
Since its foundation in 2010, Epidarex has invested in 19 life science companies in the US and Europe. This includes Nodthera, of which Epidarex was one of the founding investors in 2016.
The next investment is expected to be in an oncology company, and Dunlop said they also see opportunities in cardiovascular, autoimmune, metabolic and respiratory diseases.
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