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Thursday 1 October 2015

New £45m life sciences fund launched at Alderley Park


A new £45m life sciences fund has been launched in Cheshire East.

Cheshire East Council was part of the partnership team that announced the launch of the new fund to support growing businesses in the region’s burgeoning life sciences sector.

The announcement was made at the Biocap 2015 conference at Alderley Park Conference Centre today. The Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund has already raised around £30.7m – and this is expected to grow to around £45m.

The fund, raised by Manchester Science Partnerships, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, Greater Manchester Combined Authorities and managed by fund managers Catapult Ventures, offers a source of risk capital to local SMEs to drive the growth of innovative young life sciences businesses across the North West region.

A successful bid by the Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Warrington LEP secured £20m of Government funding, which has been matched by private sector investors – and is expected to reach more than £45m.

Cheshire East Council has invested £5m in the fund. A minimum of £10m of the total fund will be invested in Alderley Park, with a further £8m ringfenced for the wider Cheshire and Warrington area.

As important source of capital for Cheshire based businesses, Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “This is a great achievement for Cheshire East Council and our partners and is a clear sign of our commitment to growing the already world-class life science cluster in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.   

“We look forward to working with the team at Catapult Ventures to achieve real benefits for companies in Alderley Park and across Cheshire more widely. This is great news for the whole region and strong evidence of the Northern Powerhouse in action.”

Rowena Burns, chief executive of Manchester Science Partnerships, said:  “The life sciences industry is amongst the fastest-growing sectors of our economy and is flourishing in the North West.

“Our goal is to work with our businesses to support their next stage in growth, by reducing their risks and accelerating successful innovation. We know that investment into early stage SMEs can make the world of difference in shortening the journey from idea to commercial reality.

“This new fund is just part of our commitment to the region’s wonderful life science entrepreneurs. We have already started to think about how we can extend the scope and size of the fund by attracting further investors and making Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Warrington an internationally important centre for life sciences.”

The Fund will fill an important gap in the funds available to early stage businesses, help to drive their early growth, and create additional high value employment opportunities in the area.

Clare Hayward, board member of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “Cheshire and Warrington is one of the fastest growing economies in the UK and the growth of its thriving life sciences sector will play an important part in achieving our aims set out in our Devolution Growth Bid to Government – to deliver a £50bn economy by 2040.

“This fund will support small businesses to accelerate their growth and development, creating jobs and attracting new businesses to benefit from the world class facilities Cheshire and Warrington has to offer.”

The fund is now actively seeking funding opportunities and will be announced in due course.

In July this year, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a £5m fund to kick start a new research programme in pharmaceuticals and life-science technologies at Alderley Park during a visit to the research centre.

The Tatton MP said the best of the UK’s businesses, scientists, clinicians and engineers will work side-by-side in the new ‘catapult in medicines technologies.’

The programme will further boost the economic recovery of Alderley Park and play a key role in the bioscience element in the vision for the Northern Powerhouse.

Cheshire East Council has a 10 per cent stake in the Manchester Science Partnership which aims to build on Alderley Park’s international reputation as a centre of excellent in the world of bioscience and life science research and development.

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