Portugal launches first venture capital fund specialized in healthcare

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The Biovance Capital Fund I, selected by the Portugal Tech and InvestEU programs, intends to mobilize up to 60 million euros and will invest in 12 companies in the biotechnology area.

The first venture capital fund in Portugal specialized in healthcare, Biovance Capital Fund I, presented this Monday, is the latest investment from Portugal Tech, the partnership between Banco Português de Fomento and the European Investment Fund launched in 2018 to support the venture capital ecosystem in Portugal.

The Biovance Capital Fund I, selected by the Portugal Tech and InvestEU programs, intends to mobilize up to 60 million euros and will invest in 12 companies in the biotechnology area, “with the aim of supporting the development of innovative medicines for human health, in priority therapeutic areas such as oncology, immunology, neurology, among others,” explains the Ministry of Economy in a statement.

“This fund will be strategic for the development of the national biotechnology sector, providing the necessary capital and monitoring so that potential new drugs from Portuguese roots can be developed and launched on the global market,” adds the same statement.

Banco de Fomento, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Commission, “as anchor investors in the first national fund specialized in the health area”, have committed to jointly mobilize 35 million euros – 17.5 million from BPF via Portugal Tech and 17.5 million from the European Commission via InvestEU, both managed by the EIF – to which will be added capital from private institutional investors. Caixa Capital (from the Caixa Geral de Depósitos group) has already guaranteed, according to the aforementioned note.

This new fund will invest in biotechnology companies that are developing innovative early-stage drugs for human health, and its management team will include one physician and two scientists, all with PhDs and research careers in leading international institutions such as Harvard Medical School, MIT, and Imperial College.

The Minister of Economy, António Costa Silva, at the presentation, stressed that this fund “will have a very relevant contribution to the promotion of investment in biotechnology startups, allowing the development of new drugs, as a result of the strong cooperation between BPF and the BEI Group and the complementarity between national funding, provided by IAPMEI, and the European Union through the InvestEU Program.

Portugal Tech is a 100 million euro investment program, managed by the EIF and focused on developing the venture capital ecosystem in Portugal. The program has €50 million of national capital from the Capital and Quasi-Capital Fund, whose management company is Banco de Fomento. It is fully committed to six Portuguese funds, with a total leveraged value of more than 400 million euros. The funds selected by Portugal Tech have already invested more than 100 million euros in 55 startups, such as the unicorns Sword Health, Anchorage and Remote.

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