The Wellcome Trust is to launch a £200m investments business for healthcare and life sciences.
The business – operating under the working title Project Sigma – will invest in emerging businesses and technologies in the healthcare and life sciences sector. Sigma will be a directly owned and managed business that will seek to gain attractive returns on the capital it invests – which will be drawn from the Wellcome Trust’s endowment.
It will provide financial resources to help the Trust advance its vision of achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health by supporting bright minds in biomedical research and medical humanities. Investments will provide emerging businesses with a valuable source of funding and guidance, helping them to turn exciting advances in life sciences into diagnostics and therapies that contribute to improved patient care.
The project will give the Trust an additional opportunity to seek out and invest in promising healthcare businesses, typically at an early stage development with the potential to grow. The Trust will contribute to these businesses proactively and will take and retain ownership positions.
“The Wellcome Trust is known as an investor that takes a long-term view,” Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust said. “Sigma will extend this successful approach to direct investments in emerging healthcare technologies, to give small and medium-sized companies the support they require to fulfil their potential.”
“The Wellcome Trust’s decision to launch a fund focussed on long-term investment in biotechnology start-ups should provide a significant boost to companies developing new medicines,” said Glyn Edwards, The BioIndustry Association’s Interim Chief Executive. “Given the time required to bring innovative healthcare developments to market, it is especially pleasing to see that the fund will take a long term view and provide companies with the support they need to reach their full potential.”