Irish fund targets life science

An Irish life sciences venture capital fund has launched with a first closing of €75m.

Seroba Kernel Life Sciences Fund II will target opportunities in both Ireland and the UK, and becomes the seventh fund to receive support from Enterprise Ireland’s €175m Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2007-2012.

Announcing the first close, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, said: “This fund is hugely important, marking a significant increase in the availability of capital for companies in the life sciences sector. It underpins Enterprise Ireland’s strategy in supporting the sustained growth and internationalisation of this sector and will help drive the commercialisation of new and innovative products from ambitious Irish companies”.

Seroba Kernel, which is headquartered in Dublin with an office in London and is a joint venture between Irish VCs Seroba and Kernel Capital, invests in early and mid-stage life sciences companies. It aims to back between 10 and 15 businesses, focused primarily on therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics. It will lead or co-lead its investments with an average investment size of about €5m to €7m per company over the life of the fund.

Investors include Enterprise Ireland and other institutional investors including the National Pensions Reserve Fund.

Niall Olden, managing partner of Kernel Capital, said: “It is important for the Irish venture capital industry that we created a firm of scale that has the ability to compete with the best in Europe. This Joint Venture brings together an exceptional investment team, with substantial relevant experience and an excellent track record. This €75m Life Science Fund compliments our existing €110m Bank of Ireland Kernel Capital Funds I & II, which continue to invest in ambitious and innovative indigenous companies in non Life Science sectors.”