Kelly Martin’s Malin secures €70M to invest in EU biotechs

Dublin Canal
(By Giuseppe Milo from Dublin, Ireland Derivative work Lkcl it [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Malin (ISE:MLC) has secured €70 million ($79 million) to invest in European life science companies. The fresh funding will enable the Kelly Martin-helmed organization to step up its investment activity, which slowed to a crawl 10 months ago when it finished doling out the €330 million it raised in its March 2015 IPO.

Officials at the European Investment Bank (EIB) have agreed to provide the funding in the form of a seven-year debt facility. Malin will take on the debt in five tranches, the first of which it expects to draw down in the near term. That first tranche will allow Malin to restart its investment activities, both by backing new businesses and providing more money to its existing portfolio plays.

“This loan provides Malin with additive non-dilutive capital that can then be judiciously deployed to accelerate the progression of current and prospective Malin investee companies,” Kelly Martin, the former Elan CEO who helped to set up and now runs Malin, said in the statement. The loan is the first fresh funding Malin has secured since it added to its IPO haul with a €42 million placement in July.

Dublin, Ireland-based Malin moved quickly to invest its cash in the months following its IPO, a period in which it contributed to Immunocore’s $320 million round while making a string of lower-profile deals. The go-go months ended in August when Malin committed up to $20 million to U.S. VC fund Hatteras Venture Partners and a further $1 million to Jaan Health, transactions it said “substantially” completed its asset sourcing. An up to $30 million investment in Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ)-partnered Poseida Therapeutics followed in December, but since then Malin has gone quiet.

Malin had hoped to secure quick pay days from some of its investments. In September, Martin said the goal was have some of the portfolio IPO within the next 12 months. The Irish Independent article reporting Martin’s comments was published on September 22, the day after a tweet by Hillary Clinton about tackling “price gouging” in the speciality drug market sent biotech stocks into freefall. With the IPO market still feeling the aftershocks of Clinton’s comment, the anticipated flow of listings from Malin’s portfolio has never materialized.

The EIB money will ensure Malin can continue to invest. In doing so, the European Union bank has continued its program of life science financings. Over the past two years, the bank has committed around €290 million to Bavarian Nordic (CPH:BAVA), Grifols ($GRFS), Imperial Innovations (LON:IVO) and UCB (EBR:UCB).

- read the release