The French investment firm Jeito Capital has launched this week with a €200M fund that will support up to 15 drug-development start-ups with a focus on European companies.
Jeito Capital is the brainchild of Rafaèle Tordjman, whose background in medicine and research as well as investment in life sciences led her to setting up the company.
Tordjman told me that she chose to invest in biotech start-ups “because today they are the ones developing breakthrough medicine in the pharma industry. Apart from being key to curing diseases, when these innovative drugs end up going into commercialization, they allow major returns on investments.”
Jeito Capital will differ from other venture capital investors, however, by providing funding over an extended period.
“Our goal is to help the companies we invest in to accelerate the development and access to market of vital innovations in therapeutic areas with high medical needs. We put a lot of emphasis on continuity from clinical development to market access for breakthrough drugs with human-validated proofs of concept,” Tordjman said.
She told me that Jeito Capital’s first fund, Jeito I, closed with €200M of investment. The money will be used “to help commercialize drugs that will change the lives of patients who, for now, don’t have efficient treatment,” she explained, adding that the investments will focus on medical companies with a preference for those developing cancer treatments.
Jeito Capital will focus on investing in European companies, but will assess the global capacity of each company and its products at the beginning of each collaboration.
As the founder of W.I.T.H (Women Innovating Together in Healthcare), Tordjman is also passionate about promoting women’s entrepreneurship.
“It’s well known that in the private equity industry, women struggle to raise money,” she said, telling me that Jeito Capital’s non-profit arm — the Jeito Foundation — will therefore support female-led healthcare businesses.
“I strongly believe that gender diversity will contribute greatly to accelerating medical innovation,” Tordjman remarked. She added: “We need to support women-led businesses. It’s only common sense!”
Laura Cowen is a freelance medical journalist. Her background is in medical microbiology, with a particular interest in public health and infectious diseases. Outside of work she enjoys roller skating, trips to the theatre, and exploring the UK and Europe with her family in their new motorhome Bella.
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