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30 September 2015: Manchester, UK – Manchester Science Partnerships has announced the launch of a new £45m fund to support growing businesses in the region’s life sciences sector.
The announcement was made at the BioCap 2015 conference held at Alderley Park Conference Centre.
The Fund, with a first close of £30.7m, raised by Manchester Science Partnerships, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Greater Manchester Combined Authorities (GMCA) and managed by fund managers Catapult Ventures, offers a source of risk capital to local SMEs to drive the growth of innovative young life sciences businesses across the north west region.
A successful bid by the Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Warrington LEPs secured £20m of Government funding, which has been matched by private sector investors and is expected to reach over £45m in following a second close.
Rowena Burns, chief executive of Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “The life sciences industry is amongst the fastest growing sectors of our economy, and is flourishing in the North West. Our goal is to work with our businesses to support their next stage in growth, by reducing their risks and accelerating successful innovation.
“We know that investment into early stage SMEs can make the world of difference in shortening the journey from idea to commercial reality. This new Fund is just part of our commitment to the region’s wonderful life science entrepreneurs.
“We have already started to think about how we can extend the scope and size of the Fund by attracting further investors and making Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington an internationally important centre for life sciences.”
The Fund will fill an important gap in cash available to early stage businesses, help to drive their early growth, and create additional high value employment opportunities in the area.
As an important source of capital for Cheshire based businesses, Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a great achievement for Cheshire East Council and our partners. It is a clear sign of our commitment to growing the already world-class life science cluster in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.
“We look forward to working with the team at Catapult Ventures to achieve real benefits for companies in Alderley Park and across Cheshire more widely. This is great news for the whole region and strong evidence of the Northern Powerhouse in action.”
On securing the funding, Clare Hayward, Board Member of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “Cheshire and Warrington is one of the fastest growing economies in the UK and the growth of its thriving life sciences sector will play an important part in achieving our aims set out in our Devolution Growth Bid to Government – to deliver a £50bn economy by 2040.
“This fund will support small businesses to accelerate their growth and development, creating jobs and attracting new businesses to benefit from the world class facilities Cheshire and Warrington has to offer.”
Councillor Kieran Quinn, Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead for investment strategy and finance, added: “The life sciences industry is doing vitally important work to transform the health of our citizens and communities.
“The sector is growing fast, and is an area in which Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Warrington have distinctive strengths. This fund is one of the innovative ways in which we are working together to build on these advantages to help the region forge ahead.”
Nick Wright, CEO of Catapult Ventures said: “We are incredibly excited about this new Fund, which we regard as a game changer for the life science sector in the region.
“This is a fantastic time to be investing in life science businesses, with new technologies being developed daily to meet the evolving needs of the global healthcare market. Catapult has been very encouraged by the quality of the companies we have seen already, many with very compelling propositions.”
The Fund is now actively seeking funding opportunities and will be announced in due course by Catapult Ventures.