Edinburgh fund will give a £100m injection into UK's life sciences sector

A funding deal involving three Scottish universities has been agreed that will inject more than £100 million into the UK’s life sciences sector.

Ken Cooper, managing director, venture capital solutions, at the British Business Bank.
Ken Cooper, managing director, venture capital solutions, at the British Business Bank.

The Epidarex Capital III UK fund, which has raised £102.1m, will invest in new life science businesses from emerging research hubs, including spinouts from a string of universities. Typical initial investments will range from £2m to £5m.

Edinburgh-headquartered Epidarex Capital said its new fund has been cornerstoned by the British Business Bank via a £50m commitment from its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme for early stage venture capital.

In addition to the British Business Bank, the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, alongside the Strathclyde Pension Fund and several global investors have committed capital to the fund.

Epidarex, which has a US base 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 unmet needs in the global healthcare market.

Sinclair Dunlop, managing partner at Epidarex, 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.”

Ken Cooper, managing director, venture capital solutions, at the British Business Bank, said: “We know that equity finance is crucial for innovative life science and health technology businesses.

“The bank’s enterprise capital funds programme is a key tool in helping to develop and maintain an effective venture capital provision in the UK. By supporting Epidarex Capital III UK, we are looking to ensure the successful financing of early stage, high-potential businesses that are built upon cutting-edge UK life science research.”

The fund’s first investment has founded Lunac Therapeutics, a spinout from the University of Leeds, which received £2.65m in financing. Lunac is developing next-generation anticoagulants to minimise bleeding risk and will capitalise on a decade of academic research, which has been supported by the university.

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