Index Ventures, a venture capital firm, has launched its first fund solely dedicated to making investments in the life sciences sector.
The fund, amounting to $198 million, includes investments from several of Index's largest existing limited partners and two companies, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the venture capital affiliate of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson.
With this investment in the fund, the two global pharmaceutical companies will share their expertise by participating in the fund’s scientific advisory board. Index will maintain full decision making rights to the portfolio companies and the fund rules and procedures will follow previous Index Ventures funds. This pharma/venture partnership model is intended to stimulate promising, early-stage R&D innovation.
Index's "asset centric" model focuses on investment in companies with just one or two projects, rather than companies with multiple programs. The fund will primarily consider opportunities across Europe, but also in the U.S., with assets that have first-in-class or best-in-class mechanisms of action and target areas of unmet medical need.
"New and creative approaches to funding early stage innovation are crucial to the development of transformative medicine,” said Dr. Paul Stoffels, worldwide chairman, pharmaceuticals group, Johnson & Johnson. “We believe that supporting and nurturing start-ups and encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation will be good for the entire industry."
The fund’s scientific advisory board will be composed of nine members: Dr. Moncef Slaoui and Dr. Paul-Peter Tak from GSK; Stoffels and Dr. Bill Hait from Janssen; and five Index Ventures-appointed executives: Francesco De Rubertis, Kevin Johnson, Michele Ollier, Roman Fleck and Remy Luthringer.