NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Wellcome Trust announced yesterday that its board has approved the creation of a new business to invest in emerging technologies in the healthcare and life sciences sector.
The new business, called Project Sigma for now, will have an initial investment of £200 million ($317 million), drawn from Wellcome Trust's endowment. A name and brand identity will be announced shortly, Wellcome Trust said.
The goal of Sigma is to help Wellcome Trust support "the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities," it said. Sigma will be a directly owned and managed business that aims to deliver attractive returns from the businesses in which it invests.
Typically, those businesses will be in the early stage of development. Through Sigma, Wellcome Trust will be able to take and retain ownership positions in them and help them grow by providing, for example, complementary expertise from different companies and scientific fields.
Through Sigma's efforts, new and emerging companies will be able to turn research into diagnostics and therapies that improve patient care, Wellcome Trust said.
"This important investment opportunity will help the Trust to fulfill its vision of achieving extraordinary improvements in health, by generating returns that can be used to fund the work of outstanding researchers in the biomedical sciences and the medical humanities," Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said in a statement.
Nigel Keen was named chairman of Sigma, and Martin Murphy was named the CEO. Keen is the founder of Deltex Medical. Murphy was a partner in MVM Life Science Partners, a venture capital firm focused on the life sciences and healthcare.