Woodford-backed Cambridge U fund raises $98M for tech & life sciences

An investment fund borne out of the U.K.’s University of Cambridge and its commercial arm has raised £75 million ($98 million) as the industry looks to shake off uncertainty in a post-Brexit vote world.

The fund, known as Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), will invest the cash specifically in healthcare and tech companies in the Cambridge area--known locally as the Silicon Fen and as a respected European a hub for science-based innovation.

CIC was founded back in 2013 to help fund early-stage upstarts in the Cambridge cluster in the hope of incubating these companies and help them bring their ideas to fruition. To date, the fund has paid out £33 million to 13 health and tech companies in the area.

“The new funds raised will be used to provide additional investment to CIC’s current portfolio, to invest in new opportunities created at the University of Cambridge and within the Cambridge Cluster and to expand the CIC team to allow the [Cambridge’s commercial arm company] to capitalize on its strong inflow of new investment opportunities,” CIC said in a statement.

The round, which was oversubscribed, was supported by new investors including Woodford Investment Management, as well as Winton Ventures, the Oman Investment Fund and others.

This will be a much needed boost to British life sciences given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the recent Brexit vote, and concerns over how this will hit VC funding streams from Europe.

Neil Woodford, a major investor in British biotech firms, could also do with some good news after he recently upped his stake in U.K.-based Circassia a day before it posted damaging Phase III trial data that caused its stock price to crash.

Victor Christou, CEO of the CIC, said: “We are delighted by the support we have received in this fundraising. Since the inception of CIC and its initial fundraising in 2013, the company has made significant progress within the Cambridge Cluster, one of the richest seams of scientific and technological innovation in the world.

“This additional capital will enable CIC to continue to support exciting IP-rich companies and we look forward to continuing to work very closely with the University of Cambridge and our network within the Cambridge area. We thank our existing shareholders for their continued support and welcome our new shareholders with great enthusiasm.”

- check out the release

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