Stockholm and Copenhagen-based Eir Ventures has announced the closure of its first fund at €76M, which will be used to invest in biotechs and other life science companies, with a focus on the Nordics.
The fund is backed by Saminvest, a venture capital company founded by the Swedish Government; Vækstfonden, the Danish state’s investment fund; Novo Holdings; and the European Investment Fund.
Although the fund will cover the whole of Europe and the USA, particular focus will be placed upon biotech innovations from leading universities and incubators in the Nordics. This region currently has a pronounced imbalance between investment opportunities and available venture capital.
In particular, the number of venture funds in the region has declined substantially since the early 2000s, and no fully pan-Nordic investor exists because most of the remaining funding sources tend to be bound to individual countries.
“The available local capital is substantially below what the available investment opportunities could warrant, and thus there is a big opportunity for a new fund like Eir Ventures,” said Stephan Christgau, Managing Partner of Eir Ventures. “The so-called ‘Medicon Valley,’ comprising the greater Copenhagen region and southern Sweden, has had a 23% growth in output of scientific papers in the last 10 years, the highest growth rate of any of the ten largest life science clusters in Europe.”
Eir Ventures plan to invest in 12 to 18 biotech companies with this fund. Although the fund will not focus on specific therapeutic areas, there are a number of strengths within the region, including endocrinology, stem cells, central nervous system diseases, and oncology, along with expertise around peptide and oligonucleotide drugs.
“We also hope that we can play our part in enhancing the Nordic life science ecosystem and bring even more international talent as well as capital into the Nordics,” Christgau said.
Interestingly, the announcement marks the closure of the fourth Europe-centered life sciences venture fund in the last month. It follows the €185M closing of Forbion’s Growth Opportunities fund this week, which will focus on investments in public European biotechs and those close to going public. In the last few weeks, there has also been Epidarex Capital’s launch of a €122M UK-targeted fund and Biogeneration Ventures’ €105M fund, which focuses on creating European medical biotech startups.
According to Christgau, there has been “no concerted effort” to coordinate the closing of these funds. Instead, he believes it could be a coincidental result of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions lifting, thus allowing deals to be brought to completion.
Image from Shutterstock