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12 November, 2020 - 12:39 By Tony Quested

o2h ventures leads HMRC-backed bio funding revolution

Sunil Shah

Cambridge based o2h ventures has launched its HMRC-approved knowledge intensive EIS fund, focusing on supporting the expansion of UK research and development in the biotech therapeutics and AI space.

To support the Government’s aim to strengthen and grow UK innovation, which is known to be capital and research intensive, the EIS knowledge intensive fund has been launched to pledge support to companies developing new intellectual property and novel therapeutics.

o2h ventures is in an exciting position to have been approved by HMRC as the first knowledge intensive fund investing to nurture early stage biotech therapeutics & AI assets through seed investment, working alongside and investing in companies that can look to generate returns (financial, social and ethical) for investors as part of the seed and early finance cycle. 
Britain’s first HMRC-approved EIS knowledge intensive fund is focused on seeding early stage biotech therapeutics and related AI opportunities. The fiund will invest in companies qualifying under EIS and covering novel drug discovery along with enabling services, tools and AI technologies. 

The investment focus of the Fund will be therapeutic drug opportunities or technologies that enable drug discovery with an emphasis on Artificial Intelligence. The geographic scope will be UK wide but will target the growing Cambridge biotech cluster which is now the global headquarters of AstraZeneca and is home to many biotech companies some of which have subsequently been snapped up by large pharmaceutical players.

o2h CEO Sunil Shah says the EIS knowledge intensive fund is intended for investors who want to achieve capital growth (rather than income) by investing in a portfolio of unquoted and/or AIM-listed companies, which have the potential to increase significantly in value. 

Backers will appoint o2h Ventures to invest their subscriptions in companies and manage those Investments on their behalf on a discretionary basis.

Shah says: “We endeavour to take an active role in managing these Investments, as at this early stage these companies often require more than funds to succeed. 

“We will seek to embed these companies into an o2h-curated innovation ecosystem where possible to allow these potential companies to create value and achieve the best possible exits for investors.

“o2h group believes that humanity is entering an unprecedented era of innovation in genomics, chemical biology, biotechnology, proteomics, and epigenetics. Allied to advancements in new technologies such as AI, this approach is leading to the rapid discovery of new drug therapeutics. 

“Traditionally, many seed funds have avoided investing in this space due to the perceived larger capital requirements, difficulties in assessing and overcoming the technical barriers and the longer time horizons to exit. 

“Global pharmaceutical companies, however, have learned from experience that the most promising research is not always found in-house. 

“This shift in focus from innovating in-house to acquiring or licensing innovation externally, often earlier on in its development, has led to a much shorter path to exit for these types of early-stage biotechnology and therapeutic companies.

“o2h Ventures has been capitalising on these changes, being the first EIS fund dedicated to investing in early-stage biotechnology and therapeutic opportunities. This has generated a competitive advantage by focusing on two core elements of our investment thesis – access and Incubation.”

• For more information on the fund visit

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