Healthcare VC exceeds funding target by €18m

IRISH life science VC fund Foundation Healthcare has raised €118m for its third fund from a mix of private, public and institutional investors.

This brings the total assets under management at the group to €294m.

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With its two earlier funds Foundation Healthcare has backed 20 companies including Amarin, which develops cardiovascular treatments, Mainstay Medical; which has developed a new treatment for chronic lower back pain; and Inflazome which is developing medicines that stop inflammation.

Foundation Healthcare is headed by co-founders and managing partners Dr Manus Rogan, a former Elan executive who also has a doctorate in chemistry, and Aidan King, a pharmacist by training who is also a former Elan executive.

The latest fund raising has been backed by the European Investment Fund, which is providing €45m, and Coolidge Limited, an investment vehicle of financier Dermot Desmond, as well as from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), and AIB.

The €118m raised is above the €100m target for the new fund. The plan is to invest in 10 to 12 ventures, predominantly private life sciences business and mainly within Europe but including some investments in the US. The primary focus will be investing in specialty pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices.

Ireland remains a focus, Dr Manus Rogan said. “We will continue to seek opportunities to identify life science investment opportunities with exciting potential both in Ireland and internationally,” he said.

“Our ability to deploy significant capital together with our proven track record of helping early stage companies commercialise their potential, positions us a partner of choice for ambitious life science growth companies.”

Meanwhile, for the wider Irish venture capital sector a lack of “mega-deals” in the early part of the year saw total new funding in Ireland fall 41pc to €197m in the first three months of 2019.

This compares to €332m invested in the same period in 2018, figures from the Irish Venture Capital Association show.

However, the overall number of firms that secured startup or follow-on funding in the first three months grew from 43 to 75.

“Last year included two mega-deals of €100m each for Intercom and AMCS,” said Alex Hobbs, chairman of the IVCA.

“If you strip these out, then core growth across all deals in the first quarter was almost 50pc.”

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