Epidarex reveals £50m venture capital fund for UK life sciences

Edinburgh based fund Epidarex to seek opportunities in start ups.  

Investors from all round the world have been keen to capitalise on British science and have poured £50 million into a new venture capital fund.

A specialist life science venture capital group called Epidarex, today have announced that they have a new fund of £47.5 million dedicated to UK start ups, which also include university spin outs.

Backers are from all different regions of the world but they include US drug giant Eli Lilly as well as King’s College London and other major research universities. The new fund has also attracted investment from the EU’s European Investment fund, Scottish Enterprise and Strathclyde Pension fund.

The investment from Lilly, was their first in a UK venture capital fund and it underlines its belief in Britain as a scientific powerhouse.

“This investment reflects Lilly’s strong belief in the excellence of life science research and development in the UK and will complement our own R&D and existing academic partnerships,” said Elaine Sullivan, vice-president of global external research and development at Lilly

Sinclair Dunlop, managing partner at Epidarex Capital, moved from the US to his native Scotland last year to launch the fund. He said the fundraising was a “significant validation of the UK’s life science research base”.

Britain’s biotech companies have struggled in previous years to attract investment following the financial crisis however the completion of this new fund is the latest sign that investors are warming to British biotech companies.

This isn’t the first indication that British biotech’s are on the rise, earlier this year there was the successful stock market debut of cat allergy company Circassia which raised £200 million. That figure is thought to be London’s biggest ever biotech float.

Epidarex first launched last year under a previous name of Rock Spring Ventures. Back then it had already secured a £25 million fund from the univesrities of Glasgow, Ediburgh and Aberdeen. They also received investment from the EU, King’s College London,. Eli Lilly have more recently come on board.

Epidarex in February invested £4 million from the fund in Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, a spin-out from Edinburgh University that is developing a new method for diagnosing lung disorders.

Alex Carson

PiR Resourcing leaders in senior life science resourcing. For more news and information, you can follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn 

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