Angel investors seek opportunities in Irish life sciences sector

23 Feb 2010

An all-island group for angel investing in Ireland has begun creating a series investment syndicates aimed at providing financing for indigenous companies operating in the life sciences sector.

The Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) is a joint initiative of InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland. It is focused on increasing levels of angel investment in the technology and life sciences industries in Ireland and is committed to the formation of up to 10 new investment syndicates to facilitate the required investment.

Angel investors offer boost to life sciences
According to HBAN, the formation of syndicates of angel investors – private individuals who invest in start-ups or early stage enterprises – will be an essential means of boosting the number of indigenous operators in the life sciences industry, which is worth up to €44 billion annually to the Irish economy.

Last week, 30 stakeholders from the industry met in Dublin to form the first syndicate group and to review a number of potential projects including Argutus Medical and Vasorum.

Each of the syndicates that are formed is expected to have an investment capacity of up to €1 million.

An Irish ‘Angel Capital’ industry
“What we’re really looking to do is to facilitate the development of an ‘Angel Capital’ industry in Ireland.  Scotland has a very vibrant business angel community that contributes approximately stg£21.8 million (€24.8 million) annually of investment into indigenous industry,” said Diane Roberts, National Director, HBAN.

“Private investment is critical to the development of a healthy start-up sector and provides early stage financing when a company is probably too early stage to attract an institutional investor such as a venture capital firm,” Roberts added.

Irish investment opportunities
According to Dr Ena Prosser, a partner with venture capital firm Fountain Healthcare Partners, there are a number of investment opportunities in the Irish life sciences sector, especially among those firms that are looking to finance new product development, or expansion overseas, or a similar next step in their evolution.

“We believe the creation of angel investment syndicates would help fill this funding gap and, on a wider level, support the regeneration of the national economy,” Prosser said.

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