Mobius Life Sciences Fund Launched to Finance Early Stage Biotech Firms
The Mobius Life Sciences Fund, a new investment fund focused on providing seed finance for life science companies, is officially launched on Thursday 1st October 2009.
The Mobius Life Sciences Fund is designed to fill the considerable gap in early-stage venture funding for a sector which is notoriously high risk and money-intensive. At a time when many private venture funds shy from seed funding in this area, the Mobius Life Sciences Fund will provide the crucial bridge in finance and expertise which will enable these supported companies to succeed in subsequent funding rounds.
The new private venture fund has been made possible by the continuing success of BioCity Nottingham, one of Europe’s fastest growing bioscience and life sciences incubators. Mobius Life Science’s funds are securely generated through the incubator’s internal operating activity. In addition, the Mobius Life Sciences Fund has won the support of Nottingham City Council in the provision of unsecured loan finance alongside the Mobius equity investment.
The strength of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund, and its own future potential for growth, lies in its ability to leverage BioCity’s strong relationships with funding bodies, University connections and other networks, coupled with its well established early stage company development programmes, such as the Bioscience Germinator, as well as its depth and breadth of industry knowledge. This gives the Mobius Life Sciences Fund access to an established route for deal flow as well as opening itself to approaches from new firms.
Successful applicants to the fund will benefit from being able to avail themselves of the high quality infrastructure such as optional access to property, laboratory and research equipment based in BioCity, extensive expertise drawn from national and international connections, other funds including grants for R&D and global opportunities to inter-trade. The overriding aim of the new fund is to help its investees to grow and succeed, and at the same time gradually expand its own venture fund operations.
The Mobius Life Sciences Fund is structured with a board and the Mobius Life Sciences Investment Panel, which brings together national experts from the life sciences and business sectors – including large pharmaceutical concerns, venture funds and successful entrepreneurs. This holistic approach, creating a pool of talent, is an extremely powerful model to adopt. The panel, chaired by Lucy P Marcus, Founder and CEO of Marcus Venture Consulting, who also chairs the board of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund and sits on the board of BioCity Nottingham, consists of: Wendy Tan White, Founder & CEO Moonfruit; Dr Glenn Crocker, CEO BioCity Nottingham Ltd; Dr Rebecca Todd, Life Science Investment Manager, Oxford Capital Partners; Dr Chris Doherty, Vice President, AstraZeneca plc; Professor Kevin Shakesheff, Head of the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham; Dr Stefan Ogrodzinski, CEO & Founder BioStatus Ltd and Dr Nick Pope, CEO BioSpring Ltd.
Lucy P Marcus says: “It is exciting to be involved at the start of the Mobius Life Sciences Fund.The fund is deliberately designed to be self-sustaining and is built for future growth. We have created a streamlined process that can make investment decisions relatively quickly, support our investments, minimise early-stage risk and prepare our companies for subsequent funding rounds. I expect great things for the fund and for the companies in which we invest. Already we are seeing some business plans with a great deal of potential. I look forward to helping the Mobius Life Sciences Fund develop strong relationships with the other leading life sciences private venture funds as they invest confidence in our ability to pick companies with future potential.”
The fund will take a board seat in its investments, and successful applicants will be able to draw on the expertise of the Panel members as non-executive directors, as well as a pool that can be available to advise on matters such as structuring, key recruitment decisions, forward funding and commercial relations.
Six years developing BioCity Nottingham has enabled CEO Dr Glenn Crocker to build the infrastructure which has made the Mobius Life Sciences Fund possible. “We currently have nearly 70 bioscience and life sciences firms either based in or virtual tenants of BioCity. Many have grown rapidly but there are still companies with great potential that are struggling to see daylight and we want to fill the critical funding and support gap. By launching the Fund we will facilitate growth in companies whose primary base is in Nottingham and be able to validate them as they go for further investment. Our priority will always be to make sound investments – whether or not companies decide to locate in BioCity.”
The provision of debt financing through the Mobius Life Sciences Fund is a significant advantage of the facility because access to complementary loan funding can carry a successful life sciences company through difficult short-term trading periods. This has been made possible by the strong commitment of Nottingham City Council to the life sciences sector.
“For several years now, the City Council has worked closely with BioCity Nottingham and our two Universities,” says Deputy Leader of the City Council, Councillor Graham Chapman. “When the Mobius Life Sciences Fund was conceived the council was keen to offer practical help in the form of debt finance. In this way we are providing support for local firms to help them develop their business and, most important of all, create local jobs.”
www.mobiuslifesciences.com provides a comprehensive source of information on the Mobius Life Sciences Fund including application requirements, lending criteria and terms and conditions.
T: 0115 912 4350
Lucy P Marcus and Dr Glenn Crocker are available for interview.
Press photo call at 16:50 BST on Thursday 1st October 2009 at BioCity Nottingham, NG1 1GF.
Mobius Life Sciences Fund
The Mobius Life Sciences Fund is the first investment fund in the Midlands region dedicated to the life sciences sector. It is operated by a subsidiary of BioCity Nottingham Limited and receives its investment funds directly from BioCity.
Mobius provides seed level equity investment into early stage bioscience, pharmaceutical, medical technology and healthcare businesses.
The Fund leverages this early stage investment through a collaboration with Nottingham City Council, which provides unsecured loan finance to investees, and by supporting businesses to use the investment to match against grant and other funding.
Mobius adds further value to investee companies by taking a seat on the Board of Directors and using an extensive industry network to access advice and support to the business.
Mobius will also co-invest alongside other early stage investors, including business angels, and will act as a feeder to later stage funds.
BioCity Nottingham Ltd
BioCity Nottingham Ltd was launched in 2003. The company develops and operates bioscience and healthcare-related incubation and innovation facilities. The first facility opened in September 2003, and Phase 3 in the form of grow-on space, opened in October 2008. BioCity is currently home to 66 fast-growing companies, including R&D and business support services.
BioCity was founded by Nottingham Trent University, the University of Nottingham and East Midlands Development Agency.
Nottingham City Council
Nottingham City Council has been instrumental in building on the city’s science heritage and recent Science City status to become one of Europe’s leading science and technology centres. On October 5th 2009 the council signs up to a ten-year vision that sets out how Nottingham will establish a reputation for world-class research and a thriving knowledge-based economy, providing high-quality jobs for local people as well as attracting the brightest talent from across Europe.