AIB has committed €15 million to a dedicated life-sciences venture-capital fund managed by Dublin-based Fountain Healthcare Partners.
AIB is investing in the Fountain Healthcare Partners Fund II, bringing the total to €103 million of committed capital. The fund was launched in January and will primarily focus on specialty pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and diagnostics.
Fountain is the largest dedicated life-science venture-capital fund in Ireland. Its main office is in Dublin with a second base in New York and it deploys the majority of its capital in Europe.
Elan venture capital group
Fountain is an offshoot from Elan’s New York-based corporate venture capital group. While at Elan, the team invested in more than 25 life-science companies, developing products and technologies to address unmet medical needs.
Commenting on its funding, AIB's head of equity investment unit, Ray Fitzpatrick, said: "Life sciences is a key sector for both AIB and the Irish economy. Nine of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies are based in Ireland, while 15 of the top 20 medical devices firms are also based here.
“These multinationals have created a pool of expertise and intellectual capital in Ireland. This in turn has created a new wave of Irish innovation and demand for venture capital to help indigenous Irish companies establish in international markets.’’
Manus Rogan, co-founder and managing partner at Fountain, said the fund had "significantly exceeded" its fundraising target.
“Fountain’s investment strategy has resulted in both strong absolute and relative returns from our first fund,” Mr Rogan said. “This performance is reflected in both the level and quality of existing and new investor participation in Fund II.”
Fountain is already invested in a range of companies from listed back pain medical device specialists Mainstay Medical to Genable, which is using gene therapy to address a particular form of inherited blindness.
AIB is a significant provider of seed-, venture- and growth- capital funding in Ireland. It has committed €90 million to six funds, which have a combined size of €343 million.
A large portion of this is providing equity finance to Irish SMEs with high growth potential across the technology, fintech and life sciences sectors.
The equity invested by these funds in more than 100 investee companies is currently supporting more than 1,500 direct jobs and about 4,500 indirect jobs.
The six funds are: AIB Seed Capital Funds I and II, AIB Start-Up Accelerator Fund, MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland Fund, Frontline Ventures Fund I LP and Fountain Healthcare Partners Fund II.