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29 May, 2014 - 18:11 By News Desk

Eli Lilly backs $80m early stage life science fund


Early stage life science and health technology companies plus university spin-outs in the Cambridge cluster have been alerted to a new $80 million fund – backed by Big Pharma player Eli Lilly – designed to take translational UK R & D from the lab to the marketplace.

Cambridge and the East of England are prime territories to tap into the fund, which is the brainwave of Epidarex Capital. Eli Lilly is the largest investor. King’s College London is a new and key backer.

Epidarex Capital, a leading international venture capital firm, said the early-stage focus was supported by a diverse range of investors, including four top research universities as well as the European Investment Fund, Scottish Enterprise and Strathclyde Pension Fund.

Epidarex’s close working relationship with the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, three of Scotland’s top research universities, as well as with King’s College London, provides access to some of the most innovative healthcare startups, including those specialising in novel drug development.      

Lilly’s investment, its first in a UK venture fund, signifies the strength of the early-stage life science sector across the UK and endorses Epidarex’s approach of deploying resources and capital into the commercialisation of the most innovative healthcare technologies at an early-stage.

The fund’s portfolio companies will benefit from the Epidarex investment team’s considerable experience as well as the reach of Epidarex’s international network, including the US and Asia.

Sinclair Dunlop, managing partner at Epidarex Capital, said: “The completion of our fund is a significant validation of the UK’s life science research base.

“We have been delighted to attract a broad range of investors, including Lilly, one of the world’s most prestigious pharmaceutical firms. All of our investors are committed to the fund’s goal of providing the scalable capital needed to commercialise the UK’s most innovative research.”

Elaine Sullivan, Vice-President of Global External Research and Development at Lilly, added: “Lilly’s commitment to this pioneering Epidarex fund will increase collaboration across industry and academia to help speed the delivery of new treatments for unmet medical needs.

“This investment reflects Lilly’s strong belief in the excellence of life science research and development in the UK and will complement our own R & D and existing academic partnerships to help make life better for patients around the world.”

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