24.06.2013 - British GlaxoSmithKline is participating in the new Kurma Biofund II in France. €17.5m of the €44m raised so far comes from GSK.
In a bid to identify promising new targets and drugs, British Pharma GlaxoSmithKline gains a foothold in a rare diseases venture fund. GSK said last week it will invest €17.5m in the Kurma Biofund II. It is the first venture capital fund dedicated to financing innovation in the rare diseases field through working with a network of European research institutes. Lead investor is the French firm Kurma Life Sciences Partners, with other backers including CDC Enterprises, Idinvest Partners and New Enterprise Associates. So far €44m has been raised. In April, GSK took a another bigger step when it decided to team up with Avalon Ventures in a deal worth up to €375m to fund ten drug discovery start-ups over the next three years (also see EuroBiotechNews Special May/2013).
Kurma Biofund I, valued at €51m, is still managed by Paris-based Kurma Life Sciences Partners. Like Biofund II this fund seeks the establishment of a new economic model for the financing of innovation – based on strategic partnerships with highly reputable biotechnology and medical research centers in France and the rest of Europe. Whereas Biofund II is targeted to rare diseases, Biofund I is largely concerned with life sciences and the health sector in general. Biofund I included enterprises ABM Medical, AM Pharma, Blink, Indigix, Key Neurosciences, Meiogenix, Pathoquest, Safe Orthopaedics, Umecrine and Zealand Pharma. Zealand recently made the news with its Sanofi-co-development. Since May Lyxumia has a European marketing authorisation as a diabetes therapy.
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