o2h Ventures launches Therapeutics Fund to aid early stage biotechs - and offers incubator space at SciTech Park
The first fund in the UK focused solely on early stage biotech therapeutics and related artificial intelligence opportunities has been launched by o2h Ventures.
The Therapeutics Fund - to which investors can now apply - has a target size of £10million.
While its geographical scope is nationwide, it will particularly target the growing biotech sector in and around Cambridge.
And in addition to providing the finance, o2h will create incubator space at the o2h SciTech Park in Hauxton Mill, which it recently acquired.
Sunil Shah, CEO of o2h, said: “This fund will focus on early stage therapeutics companies and we hope will contribute to the vibrant biotechnology ecosystem that already exists in the UK and particularly in Cambridge.”
The company’s SciTech Park will feature offices and biology labs.
“For all early stage businesses, their first challenge will be securing funding, but the next phase is developing these fledgling ideas into business that can scale,” he said.
“Building a biotech is hard and there are a multitude of skills that are required; the incubator space enables them to share ideas and build a network of collaborators which are a vital part of any growing organisation.”
The fund will focus on therapeutic drug opportunities or technologies that will ultimately result in new drug discovery. It will target organisations that utilise artificial intelligence.
Investors must put in a minimum of £25,000, but there is no maximum investment. The current EIS investment limit in any tax year is £1million.
Subscriptions will be used to build a portfolio of five to 12 companies and the fund will begin investing once it reaches £1million. The company will aim to deploy capital within 12-18 months, providing suitable opportunities are found, and capital will be returned when the shares can be sold, with expected exits of five to eight years.
Mills & Reeve acted for o2h Ventures on the creation of the fund.
Dona Ardeman, from the law firm, said: “We are excited to work with o2h to launch this new fund, particularly as Cambridge is at the centre of a growing biotech cluster.
“The o2h team’s experience in this area and vision for investing in and providing continuing support to such start-ups will no doubt provide a great foundation for the fund.”