GSK and J&J invest in biotech fund

 GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson, in partnership with venture capital firm Index Ventures, are launching a €150m fund for biotechnology start-ups.

The money will be invested primarily in European companies with one or two significant projects under way that “have first-in-class or best-in-class mechanisms of action and target areas of unmet medical need”.

This follows the Wellcome Trust’s announcement of its £200m fund to support early-stage biotech companies in the UK and Europe.

GSK and J&J will each contribute a quarter of the €150m fund, with the rest to be invested by Index’s existing partners.

Moncef Slaoui, Head of R&D at GSK, said: “This unique collaboration shows our commitment to the biotech ecosystem and to continuously pursuing creative new ways to access groundbreaking new science.”

With its “unique platform of entrepreneurs” and “asset centric investing model”, he noted, “Index is well positioned to create an exciting pipeline.”

Paul Stoffels, Chairman of J&J’s pharmaceuticals business, commented that “new and creative approaches to funding early-stage innovation are crucial to the development of transformative medicine”.

The Wellcome Trust has created Sigma, a new business with initial capital of £200m to provide funding and guidance to emerging biotech companies.

Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Trust, said the new company has a long-term perspective, aiming “to give small and medium-sized companies the support they require to fulfil their potential”.