£5million top-up for North West’s biomedical sector
Money from the North West Biomedical Fund will be invested in small and medium sized firms in the North West to develop new healthcare treatments and medical products, with a minimum of 40% to be invested specifically in the Merseyside region.
This increase in available cash means that the total amount of money available through the North West Fund for Biomedicals is now £30 million, with even more funding expected in 2015.
Spark Imace, the fund manager, have already invest nearly more than two thirds of the available funding in over 50 north west firms. It has until the end of next year to determine how to split and invest the remaining money, including this new significant top-up.
Spark Impact investment director Andy Round said:
“We can invest in more life science companies. The appetite for funds is significantly greater than we modeled for.
“We didn’t expect the volume and the quality of companies that came forward. “We expected pathfinder investments to die quite quickly but the attrition rate has been low and we are in fact left with a lot of companies that require more capital.
“It’s safe to say as well that there are still a lot of good companies in Merseyside that we can invest in.”
The Biomedical fund is just one of six operated by the North West Fund, which is the recipient of the Brussels’ European Regional Development Fund and money from the European Investment Bank. This money is typically invested in firms that cannot raise money through conventional private sector sources, like banks or venture capitalist.
The North West Fund recently reported that its six individual funds had invested £100 million of their £150 million pot into more than 300 businesses across the region. Private sector co-funding has increased this by a further £50 million, with the North West Fund reporting to have created or safeguarded as many as 2,500 jobs. More than 20% of investments have been made into new start-ups. Between them, all six funds provide a mix of debt and equity funding between £25,000 and £2 million.
The North West Fund are encouraging businesses to come forward and apply for funding before the 2015 dealing with Cliff Maylor, chief exectuve of North West Finance (managers of the North West Fund) saying:
“We would encourage all business owners in the region to think about their growth plans and speak to their advisers or contact our fund managers directly.”
Words: Peter Cribley