Index teams up with pharma giants

In a bid to aid the growth of early stage biotechnology companies, Index Ventures has unveiled its fifth early stage fund.

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A new life sciences fund has been launched by Index Ventures, with limited partner involvement coming in the form of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the venture capital affiliate of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Index’s €150 million (£125 million) fund is said by the firm to be the first of its kind to be solely dedicated towards making investments in the life sciences sector.
Under the terms of the fund, Index maintains fully decision making rights to the portfolio companies. Index’s ‘asset centric’ model focuses on investment in companies with just one or two projects, rather than companies with multiple programs, according to a statement.
Francesco De Rubertis, partner at Index Ventures, comments, ‘The fact that these two global pharmaceutical leaders are committing substantial resources to seek early-stage opportunities through a pure-play classic venture capital fund is a testament to the visionary leadership behind the companies.
GSK and Johnson & Johnson will provide advice by participating in a scientific advisory board (SAB). The SAB will comprise of nine members, with two senior executives from each of the two pharmaceutical companies and five Index Ventures-appointed executives.

The fund launch comes at the same time that GSK is embarking upon a £500 million investment in the UK that is set to create 1,000 new jobs. The pharmaceuticals business has plans to build its first new manufacturing facility in the UK for almost 40 years, a project commencing in 2014-15.
Moncef Slaoui, chairman of research and development at GSK, and member of the SAB, adds, ‘With its unique platform of entrepreneurs behind the execution of the ‘asset centric’ investing model, we believe Index is well positioned to create an exciting pipeline of drug candidates.’
Since its foundation in 1996 Index Ventures has raised five early stage funds.

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