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New £20m Life Sciences Fund Launches to Support SMEs in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington

Lab space at Manchester Science Park

The ‘GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura’ - a partnership between Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Bruntwood SciTech and Praetura Ventures - will combine capital, expertise and resources to help investee companies in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington to scale.

GMCA has committed £10m to the fund, whilst Cheshire and Warrington LEP and Bruntwood SciTech have both committed £5m to continue to build on the North West’s world-leading cluster of clinical, academic and commercial life sciences assets, companies and expertise.

The ‘GMC Life Sciences Fund By Praetura’ will offer investment of £50k-£2m to early-stage businesses and SMEs that are located in Greater Manchester, Cheshire or Warrington, or those that commit to relocating their operations there. The fund will be launched with an initial £20m with the aim of supporting innovation, creating more skilled jobs and helping businesses to expand internationally.

As the UK’s leading property provider dedicated to driving the growth of the science and technology sector Bruntwood SciTech, a partnership between property company Bruntwood and Legal & General, plays a critical role in facilitating growth of the life sciences sector. As well as offering world-class office and lab space and a range of scientific services, Bruntwood SciTech provide specialist business support to the science and tech businesses based at their 11 campuses across the UK offering unrivalled direct access to highly-skilled STEM talent, new markets, mentorship, and funding such as the GMC Life Sciences Fund.

As a northern-centric venture capital investor, Praetura Ventures will manage the fund. Alongside an injection of capital, Praetura Ventures will support the investee companies through dedicated resources, including Praetura’s celebrated operational partner programme - which supports promising founders with additional expertise and mentoring from industry experts - and bespoke portfolio toolkit.

The North West life science sector currently employs more than 28,000 people and is a key pillar of growth for the knowledge economy. It is recognised locally and nationally as a leading example of collaboration between research, academic spin outs and private commercialisation and is home to globally renowned universities and companies, and fast-growing entrepreneurial businesses.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, speaking at the fund’s launch at Circle Square, said: “The region’s life sciences sector continues to turn heads on the global stage, living up to our heritage of consistently pioneering and generating world-firsts.

“The pandemic thrust the life science sector’s contribution into the public eye and made us understand the impact it can have on our lives. This fund’s aim is to find, fund and scale the next generation of life science entrepreneurs. It will help grow the sector and create opportunities for key stakeholders across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington.

“This is an example of how we are supporting firms to innovate and grow. Greater Manchester is a great place to set up a business in sectors like life sciences, owing to its huge diverse talent pool and relatively lower operating costs. Through Innovation Greater Manchester we will be continuing to create the right environment for enterprise and innovation to thrive.”

Clare Hayward MBE, DL, Chair, Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “The GMC Life Sciences Fund will be warmly welcomed by the fast growing entrepreneurial businesses in the life sciences sector who are delivering ground-breaking science. This is a big step towards our vision to be a global leader in the full life sciences cycle.”

David Foreman, managing director at Praetura Ventures, said: “We are committed to helping the founders of start-ups in the life sciences sector to build the best business they can. In partnership with the GMCA, Bruntwood SciTech and Cheshire and Warrington LEP, we are uniquely placed to help the innovators who are changing the sector for the better, not only with the funding they need to grow, but by providing their teams with dedicated support, networks and resources.”

Chris Oglesby, Executive Chair of Bruntwood SciTech, said: “The North West has a truly vibrant life sciences sector, recognised globally for the talent and innovation it fosters. This powerful ecosystem can support the translation of ground-breaking science and research into successful, scalable businesses for the long term. It is as a direct result of long-term partnerships between public and private sector organisations that the sector continues to thrive, enabling opportunities for life science businesses to gain direct access to research, talent and the NHS to accelerate their growth, and we very much look forward to supporting the next generation of life science entrepreneurs with this fund.”

The fund launches on the 24th May 2022 at a dedicated event in Bruntwood SciTech’s No.1 Circle Square in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district, bringing together stakeholders from across the sector. New investments will be announced later in the year.

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