Panakès moves into biotech investing with new €150M fund

Milan, Italy
Milan, Italy, where Panakès is based (boggy22/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Panakès has raised a €150 million ($177 million) fund that will extend its focus beyond medtech and into biotech. The VC shop will mainly use the money to invest in the series A rounds of European biotech and medtech startups, with a particular focus on its home country of Italy.

Milan-based Panakès set up shop in 2015 with a focus on medtech investing. The focus reflected the backgrounds of its three co-founders, notably Fabrizio Landi, the former CEO of Italian ultrasound manufacturer Esaote. Armed with its first fund, Panakès went on to invest in companies developing in vitro diagnostics and medical devices.

Now, Panakès is branching out beyond its initial focus on medtech. The second fund raised by the VC shop will invest in biotech companies developing innovative therapeutics, as well as in diagnostic and device companies. The European Investment Fund (EIF), an anchor investor in the fund, welcomed the expansion of Panakès’ focus.

“With the extension of its investment strategy into biotech and the resulting growth of the team, Panakès will be able to further support european life sciences companies, and particularly those in Italy, which have exceptional R&D but are strongly underserved in terms of venture capital funding,” EIF CEO Alain Godard said in a statement. 

Panakès is taking on staff to support its move into biotech. The plan is to hire three professionals with “significant experience in drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry.” As it stands, Panakès has an 11-person team. Panakès has added Sergio Abrignani, a professor involved in immunology research at Milan’s National Institute of Molecular Genetics, to its advisory board. 

The fund will remain open for additional investors until the end of the year with a view to bringing its total size up to €180 million. Hitting that goal will dial up the investment power of a VC that received funding requests from more than 500 life sciences companies over the first half of 2021.