University part of unique venture capital fund for fledgling life science companies

University part of unique venture capital fund for fledgling life science companies

The University of Aberdeen is part of unique new £50m venture capital fund designed to fund fledgling life science companies spun out of academia across the UK.

Based in Scotland, Rock Spring Ventures will invest in young companies developing novel approaches to unmet needs in the study and treatment of major diseases and technologies designed to advance better healthcare delivery. 

The new fund has secured early commitments for more than half of its £50m target from an unprecedented syndicate of international investors. Initial investors include the European Investment Fund (EIF); Scottish Enterprise through the Scottish Investment Bank; Strathclyde Pension Fund; Rock Spring Ventures LP (RSV-US) and the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The fund aims to provide venture capital to the most promising life science technologies, including those being spun-out from leading universities. 

Professor Stephen Logan, Senior Vice-Principal, University of Aberdeen, said: “The University of Aberdeen is delighted to be part of this exciting new partnership. By collaborating in this way, we and our partners  have created a significant fund for life science companies, and this combined with experienced venture capital management will have the capability to leverage additional funds to enable fledgling companies to grow.

“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.”

Rock Spring Ventures EU LP (RSV-EU) is led by a sector-specific investment team with significant company-building experience. Created in response to an identified need for more sector-specific financial backing, RSV-EU plans to help address the lack of venture funding by becoming a ‘local champion’ for the life science sector in what the Fund firmly believes to be ‘under-ventured’ markets in Scotland and other parts of the UK. With plans to form syndicates of early-stage investors, including funders from outside the UK, RSV-EU sees itself as a future catalyst for the scale-up of available venture capital for the sector.  The Fund will also add overseas business development reach for its future portfolio companies via its sister fund, RSV-US, and its established network of operations in North East Asia.

Managing Partner Sinclair Dunlop 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.

Kerry Sharp, acting head of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “The lack of access to capital is having a profound effect on life sciences companies and their ability to grow.

“Scottish companies in particular are having a hard time finding the finance they need. This new fund represents a unique opportunity for us to support the sector in Scotland.

“The fact that RSV has chosen to base their operations here shows great confidence in the Scottish life sciences sector and the people and organisations working in it. We’re very pleased to be working with them in helping the sector to grow.”