New £20m fund launches to support North West life sciences

A new £20 million fund has been launched in the Northwest of England to help support the region’s life sciences sector.

The ‘GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura’ is a partnership between Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Bruntwood SciTech and Praetura Ventures. It combines capital, expertise and resources to support early-stage businesses in the region, or to help those looking to relocate.

Specifically, the fund will offer investment of £50,000 – £2 million to companies in the region. The initial launch of the fund will include £20 million and aims to support innovation, job creation, and help businesses expand internationally. The life sciences sector in the North West currently employs over 28,000 people.

GMCA has committed £10 million to the fund, whilst Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Bruntwood SciTech have both committed £5 million. The fund was launched towards the end of May at an event in Bruntwood SciTech’s No.1 Circle Square.

The fund will be managed by venture capital investor, Praetura Ventures, who will support investee companies through dedicated resources, including the organisation’s operational partner programme – which supports promising founders with additional expertise and mentoring from industry experts – and bespoke portfolio toolkit.

Official comments

Speaking at the fund’s launch, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The region’s life sciences sector continues to turn heads on the global stage, living up to our heritage of consistently pioneering and generating world-firsts.

“The pandemic thrust the life science sector’s contribution into the public eye and made us understand the impact it can have on our lives. This fund’s aim is to find, fund and scale the next generation of life science entrepreneurs. It will help grow the sector and create opportunities for key stakeholders across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington.

“This is an example of how we are supporting firms to innovate and grow. Greater Manchester is a great place to set up a business in sectors like life sciences, owing to its huge diverse talent pool and relatively lower operating costs. Through Innovation Greater Manchester we will be continuing to create the right environment for enterprise and innovation to thrive.”

Clare Hayward MBE, DL, Chair, Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “The GMC Life Sciences Fund will be warmly welcomed by the fast growing entrepreneurial businesses in the life sciences sector who are delivering ground-breaking science. This is a big step towards our vision to be a global leader in the full life sciences cycle.”

David Foreman, managing director at Praetura Ventures, added: “We are committed to helping the founders of start-ups in the life sciences sector to build the best business they can. In partnership with the GMCA, Bruntwood SciTech and Cheshire and Warrington LEP, we are uniquely placed to help the innovators who are changing the sector for the better, not only with the funding they need to grow, but by providing their teams with dedicated support, networks and resources.”

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