Biotech in Portugal gets a Boost with New Investment Fund

Vesalius Biocapital and the Portuguese National Promotional Bank have announced a new joint venture that will invest in late-stage healthcare companies. 

The Instituição Financeira de Desenvolvimento (IFD), or Portuguese National Promotional Bank, is launching its first joint investment with an international VC, Vesalius Biocapital. Though its size hasn’t been revealed yet, the new fund is a 50/50 venture between the IFD and Vesalius’ most recent fund, VBC III, which has already raised €65M and has a target of €150M.

The fund will focus investment in late-stage Portuguese companies working in drug development, medtech, diagnostics and digital health. The goal is to invest in three to five companies over the next two years. Portugal’s main biotech incubator, Biocant, will work closely with the fund to identify investment opportunities and help entrepreneurs.


The new fund is part of the IFD initiative to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the Startup Portugal initiative, which reflect the country’s focus on boosting its entrepreneurial ecosystem. Indeed, Lisbon is now preparing to host the Web Summit, “the world’s largest tech conference,” in November. And Techcrunch predicts the capital might become the next Berlin as one of the best cities for startups in Europe. 

As the IFD’s first international partner, Vesalius Biocapital will provide its venture capital expertise, consisting of a 10-year track record and over €250M raised across Europe. The firm is active in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany and Switzerland, but, as Managing Partner Stéphane Verdood told me, it is now focusing on expanding its activity to Southern Europe, an uncharted territory for many that has recently started to get the attention of investors.

Images via Per Bengtsson, AlexLMX /Shutterstock


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