LONDON--The Medical Research Council (MRC) here has established a venture capital fund of between £30 million and £40 million to provide seed money for biotechnology startups. Companies that derive from MRC-sponsored research will receive 75 percent of the funding. While it has formed alliances with companies in the past, this is the MRC's first foray into backing new companies.
The enterprise, which will be called UK Medical Ventures Management, will be chaired by the MRC's David Owen. "The problem has been how to recruit management without having the money to develop a new venture," he commented. "The fund should overcome this. It will work alongside MRC's technology advances and should spark attractive developments which will prove profitable to the fund and foster successful MRC developments." Andrew Chapman of Hoare Govett, the fund's sponsor, added, "It is a significant step forward in establishing and growing biomedical research in Britain."