THREE Scottish universities are investing £6 million in a new venture capital fund to back spin-outs in the life sciences sector.
Rock Spring Ventures is understood to have raised £26m towards a £50m fund to target fledgling start-up companies emerging from UK universities.
Rock Spring, based in the US, is led by a Scot, Sinclair Dunlop. The firm will open its first UK office in Edinburgh, with the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow involved.
The Scottish universities will fund their contributions from endowments. Others backing the fund include the European Investment Fund, Scottish Enterprise through the Scottish Investment Bank, and the Strathclyde Pension Fund.
Dunlop, who previously launched a similar venture capital business Masa Life Science Ventures, aims to make investments of between £2m and £5m in early-stage life science and health technology companies specialising in biotechnology, medical devices and health software.
Dunlop, who will head the new office, said: “We are particularly excited to be partnering with a unique investor group that includes three of Scotland’s world-class universities to provide the capital needed to realise the full potential of their spin-out companies.
“The incredible strength of the research base across the UK, and in Scotland in particular, makes it a natural location for us.”
Professor Stephen Logan, senior vice-principal, University of Aberdeen, said: “We in Aberdeen view this as a very important and strategic investment of our endowment and returns from commercialisation, which will build further on our excellent track record in life science research and in converting clever, innovative ideas into real benefits for patients.”