04.01.2013 - The Wellcome Trust’s new venture capital unit Syncona Partners LLC pours £200m into early stage healthcare start ups.
The world’s second largest charity plans to invest between £1m-£20m in each of its future portfolio companies as announced last spring. According to Wellcome's annual report last month, Syncona has already made one investment. The directly owned and managed investment firm combines the trust’s experience in the health and biotechnology sectors with its investment expertise. While Syncona offers a new source of finance and guidance for healthcare businesses at an early stage of their development, the trust hopes to make some return on investment to fuel its pipeline of charitable projects.
“We expect to play our part in building successful businesses based upon innovation within the life science and health-care industry,” Syncona Chief Executive Officer Martin Murphy said in a statement. According to the Trust’s annual report, its role is becoming an increasingly global one. It disclosed that UK assets now account for a mere 6% of its £14.5bn investment portfolio, down from 13% in 2009 and 33% in 2006. Hence the portfolio “has hardly suffered from the underperformance of European assets in the financial crisis.” The influential investor has also cut its assets in Europe, with the proportion of its portfolio invested in the continent falling to 13% (2009: 22%; 2006: 48%). The charity said that it envisaged better returns from faster-growing nations in Asia and Latin America.