Google has launched a £235 million fund to buy stakes in budding drug companies
Google has launched a £235 million fund to buy stakes in budding drug companies across Europe.
In a major boost for Britain’s healthcare sector and a fresh sign of Silicon Valley’s growing interest in healthcare, the tech giant’s sister company Verily Life Sciences will bankroll companies that need cash for the final and most expensive stage of clinical trials.
Swiss pharma group Novartis and the European Investment Fund are the other key backers of Medicxi Growth 1, which will be managed by venture capital firm Medicxi in London.
Verily, the healthcare arm of Google parent Alphabet, will appoint two members to its scientific advisory board.
Google’s move is a major boost for Britain’s healthcare sector and a fresh sign of Silicon Valley’s growing interest in healthcare
It also marks another move towards healthcare by Google’s bosses, who believe their data-crunching expertise can bring huge benefits to medicine and create future sources of income.
Medicxi partner and co-founder Francesco De Rubertis yesterday said the fund would help companies trying to start phase three testing of experimental drugs, a stage at which many firms struggle to secure enough capital.
A significant portion of the money is expected to be spent in Britain, which has the biggest experimental drug pipeline on the continent.
De Rubertis added: ‘Healthcare is very important to Google and they are going big on it.
‘They want to go into Europe and believe we will be a great conduit into pharmaceuticals, so of course when they gave me the call I said “Yes”.’
The move by Verily marks a departure from its other work, which has mainly focused on how data and technology can be used to tackle problems in healthcare.
The exact split of funding for Medicxi Growth 1 has not been disclosed.