EIF is now a cornerstone investor in Sofinnova IB I, which announced its first closing at EUR 106 million, supported by the “EU InnovFin Finance for Innovators” initiative and the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The fund, dedicated to sustainable chemistry, follows a series of 9 investments in the sector since 2009, and places Sofinnova Partners at the forefront of this promising emerging market.
Since 2009, Sofinnova Partners has made a series of investments in the renewable chemistry sector, which helps the EU to respond to some of the major societal challenges identified as part of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.
Sofinnova IB I will invest in start-ups along the value chain from the transformation of renewable raw materials, like agricultural waste or C02, to renewable end-products such as bio-plastics and other bio-sourced materials. It will also look at technologies coming from developments in synthetic biology. The investment strategy is based on a growing market demand for innovative, renewable products leveraging non-fossil raw materials and new technologies to produce better performing or cheaper, sustainable alternatives.
Pursuing the strategy applied consistently over the years with previous funds, Sofinnova Partners will seek to invest Sofinnova IB I as a founding and lead investor in start-ups and corporate spin-offs, in Europe and North America. The focus of the fund will consist in backing visionary entrepreneurs aiming at developing paradigm changing innovations from lab to the end users market. Sofinnova IB I will seek to invest in 8 to 10 companies during the next 3 to 4 years. It will leverage an experienced and dedicated team, initially composed of Denis Lucquin, Managing Partner, Joško Bobanović, Partner, and Michael Krel, Principal.
For this substantial first closing, Sofinnova IB I attracted premier investors, predominantly European institutions and major international industrial players, from energy, chemical and agricultural sectors, including several returning investors from the seed fund raised in 2012 in the same sector: Sofinnova Green Seed Fund.
Denis Lucquin, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners, said, “We are very pleased with the success of this first closing. The experience accumulated since 2009 resonated well with the investors. With investments in the sector ranging from Avantium, developing an entirely bio-based plastic bottle and now planning an IPO on Euronext, to the most recent DNA Script, revolutionizing DNA synthesis, Sofinnova Partners stands as a pioneer investor, benefitting from an acute understanding of the dynamics at work in this emerging sector. With establishment of this entirely dedicated fund, we have reached today a further important step in our development in industrial biotech.”
Commenting on the signature, EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “EIF is very pleased to invest in Sofinnova Industrial Biotech Fund, a leading fund in the life sciences sector. This transaction, which is the first closing of the Sofinnova Biotech Fund, will help to support many innovative start-ups and spin-offs across Europe and give a real boost to this emerging market.”