“This (investment) includes drug discovery, life science tools, genomics, synthetic biology, diagnostics, and agricultural biotechnology – all areas with huge unmet needs and exciting opportunities for investors.”
US-based investment and advisory firm Novalis LifeSciences has announced that it has raised $85 million in capital for its first fund and will invest in eight to twelve companies involved in the life science industry, including synthetic biology ones.
Novalis announced the plans on 20 August. In a press statement, it said that its debut fund will be called Novalis LifeSciences Investments I, L.P.
US synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks is included in the portfolio of companies that Novalis will invest in. Other life science companies in Novalis’ portfolio include Allurion Technologies, BioQ Pharma, Cerevel Therapeutics, Quanterix, Vigilant Biosicences and Sensorion.
Commenting on the fund, Marijn E. Dekkers, founder and chairman of Novalis LifeSciences, said: “This first fund is a growth-oriented fund that will invest in 8-12 companies that are commercialising breakthrough technologies in various segments of the life science industry.
“This includes drug discovery, life science tools, genomics, synthetic biology, diagnostics, and agricultural biotechnology – all areas with huge unmet needs and exciting opportunities for investors.”
Novalis LifeSciences was founded in 2017 by Dekkers. He is the current chairman of FMCG giant Unilever and former chief executive officer of German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences company Bayer and US biotechnology product development company Thermo Fisher Scientific.
The news of Novalis’ debut fund comes at a time when a number of biotechnology companies have made recent investment announcements. For instance, biotechnology firm Microphyt recently announced that it had raised €28.5 million to commercialise its range of microalgae-based nutritional and cosmetic products.
According to the France-based company, this investment was co-led by venture capital firm Sofinnova Partners and Bpifrance, through the “Sociétés de Projets Industriels” fund, together with IXO-Private Equity and Sofilaro.
Over the next 18 months, Microphyt will use the money to beef up its workforce and industrial capacity in preparation for pushing its microalgal food ingredients and cosmetics to market.
Separately, Genomatica, a US bioengineering specialist, recently announced that it had expanded into new markets after acquiring the assets of the REG Life Sciences division of Renewable Energy Group, a biodiesel production company.
This is Genomatica’s first acquisition and the company intends to use these assets to develop a wider range of bio-based chemicals.