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Investorview: Driving early-stage investment in UK life sciences

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In March 2018, NCL Technology Ventures launched a £50 million fund to help facilitate the growth of the UK’s life sciences sector. The fund has been set up to provide early-stage investments in high-potential companies with a therapeutic or healthcare technology focus. It is targeted at companies that have achieved proof of concept, from which point NCL will provide a framework of support that will assist investee companies on their path to commercialisation.

On the healthcare technologies side, NCL is seeking companies whose products will engender cost efficiencies for healthcare systems. Within therapeutics, the firm focuses on platform technologies that present multiple opportunities. Jonathan Synett (pictured), Managing Director, NCL Venture Management, says: “We like to invest early in good platform technology, and look to license and spin out those technologies as they develop.”

Why commercial awareness is key

Whatever area of life sciences a potential investee company operates in, they must be commercially driven. This includes a clear understanding of who the company is developing its technology for. “In healthcare, they need to be speaking to potential customers, whether that’s the NHS or private hospitals. They have to be engaged, they have got to understand those [healthcare] systems, and understand how they will penetrate the market,” explains Synett. “For business-to-consumer healthcare technology, the same thing applies: they need to understand who their customer is and how the customer will buy [the product].”

For a therapeutics company, this means understanding which pharmaceutical companies are interested in the relevant therapeutic area, how active they are in that space, and what deals they have previously undertaken within that space.

Alongside this commercial focus, the strength of the team is also key. Synett says: “It’s very important to have some real drivers of the company in the early stage, real project champions.”

Download the Investorview white paper to read the full interview with Jonathan Synett. Learn more about NCL’s ambitions for its second fund, the first investment from the new fund, and the comprehensive system of support NCL provides to ready portfolio companies for commercialisation:

READ THE INVESTORVIEW

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Louise Fordham
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