24 September, 2020 - 21:49 By News Desk

COVID-19 challenges being met by life science and HealthTech sectors

So far, 2020 has been a year of turmoil and the global pandemic has added a new level of pressure to and reliance on the UK’s healthcare, life sciences and health technology sectors, writes Dona Ardeman, Partner with law firm Mills & Reeve.

In response to the pandemic, these sectors have had to mobilise and be innovative to formulate a vaccine, manufacture and re-design ventilators, develop technology to monitor any outbreak and protect the vulnerable in our society, all as part of our current fight against Coronavirus. 

Life sciences and health tech funds are rising up to the challenge of innovation in healthcare and are supporting companies to introduce and implement revolutionary ideas to make our healthcare system, and those of other countries around the world, better equipped and stronger than before, to deal with future crises.

Cambridge-associated rising stars include funds recently set up by Start Codon, the o2h group and Future Care Capital. One key factor these funds share is they are ideally structured to support companies who can address issues arising from the pandemic.

Both Start Codon and the o2h group provide companies with high-tech facilities and work alongside its entrepreneurs to take their ideas and products to the next level. 

Start Codon has recently set up an accelerator fund in Cambridge to invest in a range of healthcare and biotechnology-focused companies and provide early-stage companies with state-of-the-art labs, office space, mentoring as well as access to a dedicated team and network.

Start Codon’s innovative fund seeks to support companies with ideas that could positively impact the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of disease. It is a great example of a fund setting itself apart from the crowd and aiming to support its portfolio companies as they develop innovative businesses which will address some of the key problems the world is facing.   

Also seeking to make a difference is o2h Ventures Limited’s Therapeutics Fund (also known as the o2h Human Health EIS Fund). Its target is to support and grow companies with new therapeutic drug opportunities or technologies. 

The Therapeutics Fund nurtures companies with ideas to make significant impact in this space. They see this as a move away from the traditional fund investment landscape as, alongside its financial support, o2h Ventures Limited offers portfolio companies incubation in its Mill SciTech Park and support to carry out their first research experiments. 

Finally, in collaboration with RYSE Asset Management LLP, Future Care Capital is launching a new fund, FCC RYSE Fund I LP, investing in companies in the healthcare industry who have the potential to significantly change the promotion or improvement of standards or training in the healthcare sector.

It is looking to invest in portfolio companies who are being innovative in the areas of digital health, assisted living, medical devices, education, training and development, with investments already envisaged in Cambridge. 

Its prospective investments include Cambridge-based Healthera, a Cambridge-based company with a vision to build a single smart platform to digitise and provide medicines, healthcare services and other products for patients, pharmacies and GP practices.

These new life sciences and health teach funds will no doubt not only have a profound effect on Cambridge and continue to grow Cambridge’s biotech cluster, but may also have a wider positive impact on addressing problems arising from the pandemic.

With fund managers also engaging with entrepreneurs to overcome their hurdles and investing time to nurture life sciences businesses, we are bound to see new products supported by these funds coming to market. 

• You can call Dona on +(44)(0)1223 222499 or drop her an email at: Dona.ardeman [at] mills-reeve.com

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