Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT), The European Investment Fund (EIF) and BACIT Limited (BACIT) today announced that BACIT is seeking shareholder approval to permit an investment into the CRT Pioneer Fund (CPF). BACIT would invest alongside CPF’s two existing investors, taking the total capital committed to the Fund to £70m.
BACIT’s commitment is subject to obtaining the approval of its shareholders at a shareholder meeting which is scheduled for 15 December 2014.
“Through our research, Cancer Research UK has contributed to the discovery or development of nearly 50 drugs now being tested in clinical trials.” – Dr Keith Blundy
The CPF was established in 2012 by the EIF and CRT as a specialist fund focused on investing in oncology assets to take them from late discovery through to entry to Phase II clinical trials thereby plugging a gap in the UK funding of drug discovery. Through its relationship with CRT, the Fund has access to drug discovery and development programmes supported by Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest independent funder of oncology research.
BACIT’s potential commitment follows a decision earlier in the year by EIF and CRT to commit a further £25m to double the size of the Fund from its initial first close of £25m.
To date the CPF has invested in four novel cancer projects, comprising early stage lead optimisation and later stage pre-clinical assets. The Fund is managed by Sixth Element Capital LLP (6EC), an FCA authorised fund manager set up to implement novel solutions to bring finance and innovation together within the healthcare sector.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Dr Robert James, Managing Partner of 6EC, said: “We are delighted that BACIT has chosen the CPF as the vehicle through which it can best manage its investments in oncology drug discovery. This decision validates the approach that we have been adopting to identify investment opportunities in the oncology sector. By increasing the size of the CPF to £70m we will be able to further diversify the portfolio of investments made by the Fund thereby increasing the chances of benefiting the cancer patient and maximising the chances of a successful outcome for all of our investors”.
Dr Piyush Unalkat, Principal – Equity Investments, commented: “Since its inception the CPF has met its milestones for establishing what is becoming an increasingly diversified and commercially attractive portfolio with CRT continuing to deliver a pipeline of outstanding projects. The EIF will be very pleased to welcome BACIT as a like-minded, long-term investor committed to bring oncology treatments to the market faster for the benefit of patients.”
Dr Keith Blundy, CEO of Cancer Research Technology, said: “This additional investment in the CPF will enable us to fund more projects in drug discovery and early development to bring potential new treatments to patients as quickly as possible. Through our research, Cancer Research UK has contributed to the discovery or development of nearly 50 drugs now being tested in clinical trials. These drugs could, if successful, save many thousands of lives in the future.”
For media enquiries contact the CRT press office on 020 3469 8300 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.