LONDON—Index Ventures has announced the start of a funddedicated solely to investing in companies within the life sciences sector. The150 million euro ($198.5 million) fund consists of investments from several ofIndex Ventures' largest existing limited partners, as well as two companies whorecently joined the effort: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the venture capitalaffiliate of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson.
"We are delighted by the decision of GlaxoSmithKline andJanssen to participate in this fund," Francesco De Rubertis, Index Ventures'Partner, said in a press release. "The fact that these two globalpharmaceutical leaders are committing substantial resources to seek early-stageopportunities through a pure-play classic Venture Capital fund is a testamentto the visionary leadership behind the companies."
In conjunction with GSK and Janssen's investment in thefund, the companies will participate in the fund's scientific advisory board,though Index Ventures will maintain full decision-making rights to theportfolio companies. In addition, fund rules and procedures will follow thoseof previous Index Ventures funds.
"New and creative approaches to funding early stageinnovation are crucial to the development of transformative medicine. Webelieve that supporting and nurturing start-ups and encouragingentrepreneurship and innovation will be good for the entire industry," Dr. PaulStoffels, Worldwide Chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Group at Johnson &Johnson, said in a press release. "Partnerships like this one with IndexVentures and its "asset centric" platform will enable us to enhancethe probability of identifying early stage technologies in disease areas ofhigh unmet need."
Index Ventures' "asset centric" model is based on theapproach of investing in companies that have just one or two projects, ratherthan those with several different programs. Funding opportunities in Europewill be primarily considered, but opportunities in the United States will alsobe examined to find assets with first-in-class or best-in-class mechanisms ofaction and that address areas of unmet need.
"This unique collaboration shows our commitment to thebiotech ecosystem and to continuously pursuing creative new ways to accessgroundbreaking new science," Dr. Moncef Slaoui, Chairman of Research andDevelopment at GSK, said in a statement. "With its unique platform ofentrepreneurs behind the execution of the "asset centric" investing model,we believe Index is well positioned to create an exciting pipeline of drugcandidates."
The scientific advisory board will consist of nine members,including senior executives from both GSK and Janssen. From GSK, Slaoui and Dr.Paul-Peter Tak, head of GSK's Immunoinflammation Therapy Area Unit, will jointhe board, and from Janssen, Stoffels and Dr. Bill Hait, Global Head ofResearch and Development. Five executives appointed by Index Ventures willalso join the board, including Francesco De Rubertis, Kevin Johnson, MicheleOllier, Roman Fleck and Remy Luthringer.
SOURCE: Index Ventures press release