Transforming Life Sciences
5 February 2013
A £100M Welsh Government fund designed to help Wales create more Life Sciences business start-ups has appointed a leading University expert to its Board.
The University's Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Professor Chris McGuigan will join as founding Board member, having recently served on the Welsh Government's sector panel in this area.
The fund will be run by Arthurian Life Sciences, chaired by serial entrepreneur Professor Sir Chris Evans.
The Welsh Life Sciences Fund is a new dedicated equity fund worth up to £100M to invest into life sciences businesses located in Wales. It will help capture the commercial potential of the significant investment being made by the Welsh Government into science research and development in Wales.
The fund has been established by the Welsh Government as the cornerstone of its strategy to expand the Life Sciences. It will also help attract non-Welsh companies and entrepreneurs to Wales and help pull-in more international co-investors.
"The Life Sciences sector in Wales currently employs some 15,000 people and is worth an estimated £13BN per year to the economy," according to Professor McGuigan.
"The Welsh Government's Welsh Life Sciences Fund is a one of the very biggest per capita commitments made by any country into a Fund of this type.
"It is a very significant commitment given the current economic environment but reflects the confidence in Wales, the significant potential of Life Sciences and Wales' determination to push ahead immediately with getting investors in" he adds.
Professor McGuigan hopes this will mean that Wales' strong track record of turning its pioneering research into thriving Life Sciences businesses will benefit.
"As an example, Cardiff's Asalus, a Fusion IP spin-out company founded on the innovative research work of Dr Neil Warren, from the University's School of Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education has successfully completed a 'first-in-man' trial of its lead product UltravisionTM - a revolutionary electrosurgical smoke clearing system for use in laparoscopic surgery," according to Professor McGuigan.
"This is a key milestone for the company which recently announced it had raised £1.25M in a funding round. Funding will enable Asalus to complete product development and apply for regulatory approval to launch the product in 2013.
"Asalus is just one of a number of excellent examples across Wales of what can be achieved when financial support is available.
"I look forward to the first investments announced and to seeing how world-leading research in Life Sciences from across Wales can benefit."