- New UK fund cornerstoned by £50 million investment from the British Business Bank, through its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme
- Epidarex Capital III UK LP will invest in new life science companies from emerging research hubs across the UK, including spinouts from highly regarded universities
Edinburgh, UK, 22 June 2020 – Epidarex Capital (“Epidarex”), a transatlantic life science venture firm, announces that it has closed Epidarex Capital III UK LP (the “Fund”) at £102.1million. The Fund will build new life science companies based on world-class research and innovation from emerging hubs across the UK, including spinouts from highly regarded universities. Typical initial investments will range from £2 million to £5million.
The new Fund has been cornerstoned by the British Business Bank via a £50 million commitment from its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme for early stage venture capital. The programme combines private and public money to enable equity investments in high-growth businesses, and since its inception it has committed over £1.36 billion (including third-party investment) to facilitate finance to 540 smaller UK high growth businesses. The Bank’s investment in Epidarex Capital III UK makes it the largest ECF to date, and the first to specialise in life science.
In addition to the British Business Bank, the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Aberdeen, alongside Strathclyde Pension Fund and several global investors have committed capital to the new Fund.
With its UK headquarters in Edinburgh and its US base in Bethesda, Maryland, Epidarex is a transatlantic venture firm that creates and invests in early stage, high-potential life science companies in emerging research hubs. Epidarex partners at an early stage with top scientists and entrepreneurs in the UK and the US to develop highly innovative 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.”
The Fund’s first investment founded Lunac Therapeutics, a spinout from the University of Leeds, which received £2.65 million in a Series A financing round. Lunac is developing next-generation anticoagulants to minimise bleeding risk and capitalises on a decade of academic research, which was supported by the University.
The Fund expects to announce several further investments in the coming months.
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. We are very pleased to be backing this new UK fund, which itself represents an important milestone as our largest ECF fund to date and the first dedicated to investment in life science”.
Minister for Business and Industry, Nadhim Zahawi said:
“It is our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and that means backing innovation as we rebuild and revitalise the UK economy.
“The UK is already home to one of the strongest, most productive health and life science industries globally and today’s £50m government investment will help to ensure this crucial sector continues to thrive, transforming people’s lives.”
Steve Bates, OBE, Chief Executive Officer of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), said:
“Accessing world class life science venture expertise is key to creating and scaling successful innovative UK life science companies. This has been a BIA policy objective for many years, so it’s fantastic to see UK life science industrial strategy in action – further enabling Epidarex to back some of Britain’s most promising life science entrepreneurs. Having transatlantic expertise and a base in Edinburgh, gives Epidarex real insight in building new UK life science companies, including beyond the South East of England – an area that has traditionally been under ventured despite the presence of world-leading research and innovation.”
Kyparissia Sirinakis, Managing Partner at Epidarex, said: “The new fund that we have announced today will enable us to continue towards our goal of creating extraordinary new life science companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Based on our expertise and approach I am confident that we can continue to make a meaningful impact on the UK life science ecosystem by helping ambitious entrepreneurs and scientists build high potential companies across the UK.”
About Epidarex Capital
Epidarex Capital is a transatlantic venture firm that invests in early-stage, high-growth life science companies in under-ventured markets. Epidarex focuses on providing risk capital and expertise to create, support and build young companies, including spinouts, from leading research institutions in both established and emerging life science hubs. The fund’s international management team has a track record of successfully partnering with top scientists and entrepreneurs to develop highly innovative products for the global healthcare market.
About the British Business Bank
The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government.
The British Business Bank programmes are supporting more than £7.7bn of finance to over 94,900 smaller businesses (as at end of December 2019).
- The Business Finance Guide (published in partnership with the ICAEW and a further 21 business and finance organisations) impartially sets out the range of finance options available to businesses at all stages – from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies. Businesses can take the interactive journey at www.thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk/bbb
- The new British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to high-growth businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. The new site also features case studies and lessons from real businesses to guide businesses through the process of applying for growth finance.
As the holding company of the group operating under the trading name of British Business Bank, British Business Bank plc is wholly owned by HM Government and is not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The British Business Bank operates under its own brand name through a number of subsidiaries, none of which are authorised and regulated by the FCA.
British Business Bank plc and its principal operating subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. A complete legal structure chart for British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries can be found on the British Business Bank plc website.
The investment from British Business Bank into Epidarex Capital III UK LP does not amount to any endorsement or warranty from the British Business Bank, British Business Bank plc, or the government of the UK.
Enterprise Capital Funds are administered by British Business Finance Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Business Bank plc.
British Business Bank Enterprise Capital Funds (ECFs) are managed by experienced fund managers from a variety of backgrounds – including teams from the venture capital industry as well as serial entrepreneurs with a history of success in building early stage UK companies.
They are commercially-focused funds which bring together private and public money to make equity investments in high growth businesses. The British Business Bank’s rolling investment programme of commitments to new Enterprise Capital Funds is a competitive process, with typically 2 to 3 investments made per year. The Epidarex Capital III UK LP is the 29th ECF in the programme.