Focus on life sciences and digital health
The UK is a world leader in life sciences, including areas such as biopharmaceuticals, medical technology, genomics and diagnostics, and is at the forefront of developments in digital health.
The continuing development of fields like ‘precision medicine’, from both a regulatory and technological viewpoint, hold the promise of drugs that will target the specific disease mechanism of specific patients using their genetic profiles.
In what some are referring to as the current ‘Golden Age’ of biotechnology, advances in areas such as artificial intelligence/machine learning, computational biology and bioinformatics are blurring the lines between technology and health related fields.
UK universities continue to drive ground-breaking research in these areas and, importantly, venture and angel capital is now facilitating the transfer of technology to the commercial market through university spin-outs.
This is reflected in our portfolio, where life sciences and digital health businesses are found in both technology funds and dedicated life sciences funds, such as the Dementia Discovery Fund. Through these funds, we are contributing to bringing these exciting new developments to fruition.
Drawing a parallel with technology sectors, we expect that the scale up know-how being developed in this area will lead to a new generation of repeat life sciences and digital health entrepreneurs, creating more companies which build on the UK’s strengths in research and development.
Fund manager: Balderton Capital
Based in Cambridge, Healx is a biotech company with a mission to progress 100 rare disease treatments towards clinical trial by 2025.
To achieve this, it created Healnet, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for rare diseases, designed to reduce the time and cost to discover new medicines on a larger scale. Worldwide, 350m people are impacted by a rare disease, and of the 7,000 rare diseases known today 95% are without an approved treatment. For example, the Healx AI platform and drug discovery team successfully identified novel treatments for Fragile X syndrome, the most common genetic cause of autism, within 18 months compared to an average of 6-12 years using conventional drug discovery methods.
Following a seed round, Healx sought venture capital funding to accelerate its growth, to build the founding team and to validate its AI platform. Having turned down two investment offers before finding British Patient Capital partner Balderton Capital, it raised a $10m Series A round.
With a team of 41, Healx is planning to double in size over the next 15 months, and its lead programme on Fragile X syndrome is now entering Phase 2A clinical trials.
British Patient Capital played a crucial role in helping the Dementia Discovery Fund reach its fund target.
Dementia Discovery Fund
£9m investment – June 2018
The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) is a UK-based, specialist venture capital fund investing in novel science to create companies to deliver high impact new treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia while seeking to generate financial returns for investors.
The DDF brings the discipline of venture investing to the discovery and early development of therapeutic approaches to all forms of dementia.
Dementia already affects more than 47m people worldwide. With the scale of the problem increasing, there are currently no disease-modifying treatments, with existing therapies limited to temporary alleviation of some of the symptoms.
British Patient Capital played a crucial role in helping the DDF reach its fund target. Fundraising closed at an oversubscribed £250m.
By providing a stable, long-term source of patient capital with a strategic focus on stimulating innovation and business growth, British Patient Capital is able to catalyse UK-focused biotech investing and draw the attention of fund managers to UK opportunities that may otherwise have been overlooked.
As a limited partner, British Patient Capital provides DDF with a strategically-aligned, long-term investor and advisory committee member with a real interest in advocating for development of UK biotech companies.