Gov't expands biotech funds

The fund that raises the most money wins a special $8 million government incentive funding.

Four funds have met the threshold conditions of the government biotechnology fund tender. One of the funds is US equity fund OrbiMed Advisors LLC, whose Israeli operations are handled by general partner Jonathan Silverstein, senior managing director Dr. Nissim Darvish, and managing director Anat Naschitz. Another fund is Medica Venture Partner, run by general partner Ehud Geller. The names of the other two funds - one Israeli and the other foreign - have not been disclosed.

The government originally planned to support three biotechnology funds from among the funds that met the threshold conditions, but has now decided to allow all four of the funds to receive the $24 million support, provided that each fund raises the $76 million supplementary financing. The decision will increase the government's commitment to about $100 million from the originally planned $80 million, and will boost the program's total funding to $400 million.

The government added that the fund that brings the largest amount of funding will win an additional special $8 million incentive funding.

The decision to allow each of the four funds that meets the tender's terms to set up a biotech fund, provided that it raises the supplementary funding, prevents the problematic outcome of companies seeking to raise capital from their investors without knowing whether they will obtain government funding. The decision also indicates that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor believe that all the funds that meet the threshold conditions are successful and worthy funds for establishing a biotechnology fund.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 25, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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