Sofinnova preps Irish venture plans with $37.5M in fresh support

A leading U.S. biotech venture group is setting up shop in Ireland. Backed with a $37.5 million investment from Enterprise Ireland and a national pension group, Sofinnova Ventures reportedly plans to open an office in the country and start scouting the local life sciences talent.

The deal makes sense for a number of reasons. Sofinnova launched a new fund at the beginning of the year after gathering up $440 million, which will be used almost exclusively for drug plays. Ireland gets an experienced venture player to foster local talent, connecting local companies with the VC group's international connections in the biotech industry. And Sofinnova has more money to play with to do what it does best: Raising companies up and preparing them for a partnership or sale.

Enterprise Ireland and the National Pensions Reserve Board "nicely complement the global and strong investor base we have in Sofinnova Ventures VIII," said Sofinnova's Mike Powell. "Ireland has produced several outstanding life science companies, including the Sofinnova portfolio company, Amarin Corporation. We look forward to continuing to build industry leading companies for our investors."

"Developing a dynamic venture capital industry in Ireland is a key part of this Government's growth strategy. Venture capital funds provide crucial funding, as well as mentoring and advice, to early-stage high-potential companies in key high-growth sectors," noted Richard Bruton, the government minister for jobs and enterprise. "That is why the Programme for Government outlines the Government's determination to support the development of a more dynamic venture capital industry in Ireland by seeking to attract top tier venture capitalists to invest in Ireland, and why the Action Plan for Jobs commits to delivering a number of key measures to step up our performance in this area." 

- here's the press release