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Novartis and J&J back latest €400m Medicxi biopharma fund

Growing appetite from European investors to back early-stage biotechs

Medicxi

London-based life science investor Medicxi has raised another €400m ($450m) from investors for its third biopharma development fund.

Medicxi III was amassed in just six weeks, much quicker than usual, with Novartis and Johnson & Johnson Innovation among the key investors along with “established hospital foundations and medical institutions.”

It takes the total raised by Medicxi in the last three years to more than €1bn, and the rapid take-up suggests a growing appetite among European investors to back early-stage European biotechs, which have tended not have access to as much financial support as their counterparts in the US.

The European life sciences sector is well recognised for its innovation, but has been held back in the past by a lack of growth capital, although that is changing fast, according to Medicxi, with European companies growing in stature and offering improved returns on investment for backers.

The new fund will be used to back projects “across the full healthcare continuum, from discovery to late stage clinical assets, empowering ambitious scientific entrepreneurs and drug hunters,” said the investment firm. That includes even scientists with a great idea but no experience of drug development.

In general the third fund will continue Medicxi’s “asset-centric” investment model – targeting drug programmes with particularly promising potential – but will also offer funding for “fully-integrated private companies with an underlying platform and/or a pipeline of assets” as well.

Francesco De Rubertis

Francesco De Rubertis

The latter is a new and important development, as it opens up an avenue for larger companies with later-stage assets to expand without necessarily having to move to the US, Medicxi’s co-founder Francesco De Rubertis told the Financial Times.

“The size of the fund and the speed with which it was closed reflects the continued maturity of the life sciences sector across Europe,” said Medicxi. It added that investors are now “prioritising their attention and support for emerging biopharma companies and their efforts to translate breakthrough science into pipelines of new drugs.”

Medicxi III will be also supported by the investment firm’s scientific advisory board, which includes senior executives from Novartis, J&J’s Janssen pharma unit, GlaxoSmithKline and Verily.

Article by
Phil Taylor

19th July 2019

From: Marketing

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