UK govt says pension funds and SWFs have committed to new £1bn life science/cleantech fund

Government puts down £150m cornerstone investment.

Pension and sovereign funds are set to be among investors in the UK government’s planned new £1bn (€1.1bn) fund for the life science, cleantech and digital sectors. Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled the UK Innovation Investment Fund in June. The government is putting £150m into the fund as a cornerstone investor and limited partner. Lord Drayson, the biotech entrepreneur who is Minister for Science and Innovation, told “We have pension fund investors with sovereign wealth funds plus a number of very high net worth individuals.” He declined to name them but said he had been on an international road-show to promote the fund. “If we do achieve it, it will be the biggest fund that’s been raised in Europe, period.” He said he expected the fund to be a “real boost” for theclean tech sector. The government is currently at the due diligence stage of appointing a fund of fund manager to run the new fund. There was a “very positive response” to the tender issued in August by the government’s Capital for Enterprise arm. The identity of the manager and the first closing size are due to be announced shortly, officials said. The fund will start to have an impact in the market from January. The manager will be required to invest in the full range of businesses from start-ups to public companies via university spin-outs over a 15-year horizon. Drayson stressed that the purpose of the fund manager, which will be allowed to invest in pan-European funds, is to maximise return for investors and that there was no political, social or regional agenda at play. There will be no specific benchmark to measure performance.