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Friday 4 March 2016

Life sciences investment boost for Alderley Park


A £30m life sciences fund recently launched in Cheshire East has sealed its first investment deals – at Alderley Park and in Manchester.

Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund, a partnership which includes Cheshire East Council and managed by Capital Ventures that targets exciting life-science investments in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire regions, has invested in cancer therapy firm Pronec, based in Alderley Park and Manchester-based start-up Biorelate.

It marks another step forward towards delivering 7,000 new jobs in life sciences at the former AstraZeneca site at Alderley Park. In 2012, pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca announced its decision to relocate its R&D to Cambridge.

Cheshire East Council is part of the partnership team that launched, at Alderley Park in September 2015, a new fund to support growing businesses in the region’s burgeoning life sciences sector.

The Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund has already raised more than £30m – and this is expected to grow to around £45m.

Councillor Peter Groves, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member for finance and assets, said: “This is excellent news for Cheshire East and the wider region. I’m delighted that the fund has successfully completed two seed investments in two very exciting and innovative companies.

“Cancer therapy company Pronec and Biorelate, which provides biomedical knowledge databases, are both recent start-ups that have already made excellent progress.

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

Professor Hilmar Warenius, chief medical officer and co-founder of Pronec, said: “I’m extremely grateful to Catapult Ventures for recognising the therapeutic potential of Pronec's different approach to cancer biology. I look forward to developing new drugs for the benefit of patients, their families and society.”

Cheshire East Council has invested £5m in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund. A minimum of £10m of the total fund will be invested in Alderley Park, with a further £8m ring-fenced for the wider Cheshire and Warrington area.

The fund has seen a lot of interest among a wide range of life-science businesses, both in the region and beyond, who are attracted by the world-leading science facilities and funding opportunities in Greater Manchester and Cheshire.

In November 2015, the hi-tech life sciences hub at Alderley Park was unveiled by the Chancellor as part of a new enterprise zone to boost science investment and jobs in the region.

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