Scots life sciences has great prognosis, says major investor Par Equity

Scotland’s £7 billion life sciences sector is set for a further shot in the arm due to the work and potential of ambitious entrepreneurs, according to a high-profile Scottish investment group.

Edinburgh-based early-stage venture capital firm Par Equity has outlined how it sees the recent international success of remote healthcare developer Current Health “as further evidence of the massive potential for Scotland’s key life sciences and health tech sectors”.

The investment manager secured its latest exit when US consumer electronics giant Best Buy acquired Current Health in October in a $400 million (£303m) deal, with Par saying it ultimately secured an 80 per cent internal rate of return for its syndicate of investors, and the transaction marking the second-largest digital health exit in Europe to date.

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Par Equity notes that Current Health’s technology is now used around the world by some of the largest healthcare groups. Picture: contributed.
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Par now plans to focus about a fifth of its funds on digital health technologies, while building its capabilities to support larger scale-ups.

Robert Higginson, a partner at the firm, said: “The contribution digital health technology companies in Scotland can make to the international healthcare and life sciences sectors has never been better demonstrated than by Current Health.”

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Mr Higginson, who also highlighted the importance of efforts by industry leadership group Life Sciences Scotland, added: "Across our universities, ambitious young entrepreneurs are driving advances in technology, covering fields such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics, photonics and nanotechnologies.

"Within healthcare, institutional investors have a great opportunity to step up and play a key role in supporting the NHS to address some of the major challenges faced by society such as ageing demographics and mental health.”

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Par added that the success of Current Health’s remote patient management platform resulted from its role in monitoring critical patients at home for healthcare providers like hospitals in the US, in parallel with working with the medical research community to support the development of Covid-19 vaccines. The healthtech firm’s offering is now used around the world by some of the largest healthcare groups, Par added.

The investment group, which also has a satellite presence in New York, also said it expects to deploy more than £26m this year, a record, while its current portfolio includes several companies from the healthcare and life sciences field – such as Censo Biotechnologies, Cumulus Neuro, Manus Neurodynamica, and TriVirum.

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