Medicxi Ventures, a new venture capital firm formed around the existing life sciences portfolio companies, funds and team from Index Ventures, announced the close of Medicxi Ventures 1, a new €210 million fund that will focus on early-stage life sciences investments.
The fund will predominantly invest in Europe, following the asset-centric approach pioneered by its parent Index Ventures. Along with institutional investors, the fund has the backing of GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson.
The asset-centric approach is designed to reduce the risk of investing in life sciences, by forming companies around one or two drug programmes and then investing in a limited programme of research to validate assets, or kill them decisively after a minimum investment.
Medicxi starts operations as one of the largest independent European life sciences venture capital investors. It will be managed by four general partners, Francesco De Rubertis, David Grainger, Kevin Johnson, and Michèle Ollier, who previously led the life sciences practice of Index Ventures.
De Rubertis said, “We are excited to take this next step in our evolution as a life sciences focused investment firm. A high percentage of the drugs approved every year by the US FDA were discovered in European academic labs. By working in close partnership with academia, biotech and the pharmaceutical industry, we are committed to translating high quality science in Europe into effective new medicines.”
Moncef Slaoui, chairman global vaccines and GSK’s representative on Medicxi’s scientific advisory board said, “The team at Medicxi has a proven track record in partnering with world-class entrepreneurs and scientists to translate disruptive science from academia and industry into new [drugs].”
Along with Slaoui, the scientific advisory board of the new fund will include R&D and business development executives from the two pharmaceutical companies, as well as Medicxi-appointed executives. GSK and J &J do not have any specific rights to the portfolio companies.
Neil Rimer, who co-founded of Index Ventures 20 years ago, said the formation of Medicxi is a natural evolution given that the Index life sciences team has been operating autonomously within the firm for several years. “Whilst Index and Medicxi will operate independently, we retain close ties and look forward to continuing to share ideas and expertise,” Rimer said.