Arthurian Brings in Experts to Manage Life Sciences Fund; NUMBER OF INVESTMENT DEALS BEING CONSIDERED

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Byline: SION BARRY sion.barry@walesonline.co.uk

THE company awarded the contract to manage the PS100m Welsh Life Sciences Fund last night confirmed it had assembled one of the strongest boards seen in the sector, as well as confirming that a number of early investment deals were on its radar.

As revealed by the Western Mail last week, Arthurian Life Sciences won the tender to manage the fund in a process overseen by the Welsh Government's investment bank subsidiary Finance Wales - having beaten off a rival bidder.

The Welsh Government has committed PS50m to the fund, with Arthurian committed to raising at least another PS50m. Investments made into firms will initially range from PS500,000 to PS5m - with provision for second round equity investments.

Arthurian, chaired by serial biotech entrepreneur and sector investor Sir Chris Evans, has attracted a range of internationally-respected industry figures to its board to support the business and the Welsh Government in realising its vision of creating a vibrant life sciences sector based in Wales.

They include former CBI director general Sir John Banham, former Cabinet Minister Lord Hutton, Professor Trevor Jones, director general of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and former board director of the Wellcome Foundation, and Jeremy Curnock Cook, a leading figure in biosciences investment.

The company will provide discretionary fund management services, although the Welsh Government could be consulted on larger investments.

Sir Chris, whose investment fund Excalibur Fund Managers has a share interest in Arthurian and who chairs the Welsh Government's external panel for life sciences, said he was delighted with the strength of his new team which will help develop businesses capable of performing at the forefront of international life sciences.

Port Talbot-born Sir Chris said: "The coming together of such great private enterprise talent and significant government support in this way opens a new and exciting chapter in the development of not only the Welsh life sciences industry but beyond.

The arrival of Arthurian in Cardiff marks the dawn of a new and exciting era and signals an exciting start to 2013.

"The immense experience of this team will be invaluable in assisting the Welsh Government and the life sciences sector panel in fully implementing its excellent vision of creating a new fund, a unique life sciences hub, a thriving and vibrant ecosystem of Welsh life sciences businesses and a powerful new, commercial Welsh life sciences brand that will achieve international recognition. …