Less than two years after its last funding round, the venture fund associated with the University of Cambridge has raised a meaty £150 million ($196.4 million) — in the UK’s largest funding round of 2019 — more than doubling the financial resources available to the entity, Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC).
Since its inception in 2013, CIC has raised £275 million to invest in a web of life science and tech companies — including those focused on surgical robotics, flexible electronics, microbiome science, genomics and AI software — within the tapestry of Cambridge, including but not limited to University of Cambridge spin-offs.
Cambridge, UK is an integral part of the Golden Triangle, which loops in Oxford with the big London axis and is home to AstraZeneca’s campus. As of the first quarter of 2019, the area houses 258 active biotech R&D businesses, up 77% from 2016, according to an analysis from London-based investment manager Downing.
CIC — which counts the university, as well as its endowment fund combined as its largest shareholder — has injected £125 million in capital into 25 firms so far. Most recently, it participated in a £40 million series B round for liquid biopsy company Inivata — spun out from Cancer Research UK and Cambridge University — last week. CIC has also invested in Abcodia, which is working on biomarkers for the early detection and screening of cancer, as well as European oncology company Carrick Therapeutics.
Outside of biotech, CIC has been busy in the first quarter, making investments in low-cost flexible electronics maker PragmatIC, video management platform business Imagen and spatial big data company GeoSpock.
When the investment vehicle was set up, CIC had aimed to raise more via an IPO after raising money over two-to-three years. Ahead of the latest raise, chief executive Victor Christou told the Financial Times that that CIC decided to remain private after reviewing its options. “Looking at what has happened in the public markets recently, I feel vindicated in our decision. An IPO remains an option in the long term but not in the near future.”
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