BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - The venture capital subsidiary of France’s National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm), Inserm-Transfert SA, which is a corporate entity, has teamed up with three other funds to create a new venture capital firm to provide seed capital and proof-of-concept financing to biotechnology firms.

Known as Inserm-Transfert Initiative, the fund has been established with a capital of €4.2 million (US$5 million) for an initial period of 10 years, which could be extended for two further periods of two years.

Inserm-Transfert’s associates are Sofinnova Partners, CDC Enterprises and Ventech, all of Paris, and the four associates each have a 25 percent interest in the new fund. Inserm-Transfert Initiative expects to announce its first investments in the very near future.

Its investment director, Jean-Pierre Loza, explained that many would-be entrepreneurs have trouble finding pre-seed and seed capital, and that Inserm-Transfert had "chosen to provide early stage support to innovative projects in human health and give real help to business creation at the time when entrepreneurs most need it."

CDC Entreprises is the equity capital arm of the French government’s bank, Caisse des Dép ts et Consignations, and manages funds totaling €4.2 billion, half of which is invested by CDC itself.

Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital fund set up in 1998, which currently manages investments totaling €900 million, while Ventech was spawned by Natexis Private Equity, a subsidiary of Natexis Banques Populaires, and manages investments of €173 million divided between two funds.

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