ISIF invests $65m in SOSV funds focused on biomanufacturing and sustainability

17 Jun 2024

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Nick Ashmore of ISIF said he wants start-ups to make Ireland their home for developing new technologies in precision fermentation and biomanufacturing.

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has invested $65m in two funds operated by US venture capital firm SOSV that focus on biomanufacturing and sustainability.

ISIF is the Irish State’s sovereign investment arm that supports economic activity and employment in Ireland. Its latest investment includes a $32.5m commitment to SOSV’s new Ireland Biomanufacturing Fund, which will invest in Series A and later-stage companies that locate advanced biomanufacturing or precision fermentation operations in Ireland.

A further $32.5m will be invested in the firm’s recently announced Fund V – its largest ever – aimed at deep-tech start-ups that innovate in the climate and health spaces.

SOSV was founded by Irish-American investor Sean O’Sullivan and is based in Princeton, New Jersey. It makes around 200 investments per year, from pre-seed to Series A and later stages. It operates start-up programmes across New York, Newark and San Francisco, with about 80 start-ups graduating each year. It also has operations in Cork.

Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, TD, said that the latest ISIF investment is part of a series demonstrating the State fund’s commitment to “investing in the ever-growing biomanufacturing sector” and remarked on how Ireland has now become a “hub for biomanufacturing”.

“Ireland is well-positioned to become a global leader in the emerging biomanufacturing sector, a high-value, high-skilled sector that will allow Ireland to leverage its existing capabilities in food, pharmaceuticals, the emerging opportunities in renewable energy, and food and drinks manufacturing and research,” said ISIF director Nick Ashmore.

“ISIF is making this investment to support the development in Ireland of a biomanufacturing sector, including renewable energy, bio-based feedstocks and an export-focused economy that needs sustainably sourced goods to compete.”

In April, ISIF announced a commitment of €278m across three new climate investments to support offshore wind, renewable energy developers and energy transition start-ups. ISIF said at the time that the new investments bring its total climate investments to €636m since 2021. This is more than 63pc of ISIF’s goal of investing €1bn in climate projects by 2026.

“Together with SOSV we want to build a strong incentive for start-ups in this sector to make Ireland their home for developing new technologies in precision fermentation and biomanufacturing and scaling what they can do,” Ashmore added.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com