CIC raises £150M to back startups at U.K. R&D hot spot

University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge (Jean-Christophe BENOIST/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) has raised £150 million ($196 million) to invest in startups emerging from a U.K. life sciences research hot spot. The financing will support existing portfolio companies such as Bicycle and Carrick Therapeutics and equip CIC to back additional businesses.

CIC began life in 2013 with £50 million from investors including Invesco Perpetual and Lansdowne Partners and a brief to take stakes in startups spawned at the University of Cambridge and the life science research hot spot that surrounds it. In 2016, CIC raised a further £75 million to continue leveraging its status as a preferred investor of the university to grow its portfolio.

The latest financing more than doubles the capital raised by CIC. The University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Endowment Fund were cornerstone investors, but CIC said it also received money from “a geographically diverse range of new institutional and strategic investors.”

Raising the money sets CIC up to add to its portfolio and continue supporting the 25 companies it has backed so far. The investment brief and resulting portfolio extend beyond drug development to cover diagnostics, medical devices and tech startups working on products including artificial intelligence that creates music.

The drug development section of the portfolio features some of the British biotechs making waves in their fields. CIC participated in a £40 million series B investment in AstraZeneca-partnered Bicycle and joined investors including Arch Venture Partners and GV in the $95 million series A that got Carrick up and running.

CIC is now equipped to make additional investments in such companies and back the next generation of Cambridge startups. 

“The additional capital will enable us to fund our existing portfolio companies and invest in promising new companies in the Cambridge ecosystem. Our relationship with the University of Cambridge, including our privileged position as a preferred investor for the University, goes from strength to strength,” CIC CEO Victor Christou said in a statement.