To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the National Science and Technology Council's letter to the Prime Minister dated 23 September 2021, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the £100 million funding gap for the Future Fund: Breakthrough programme and Life Sciences Investment Programme as identified in that letter.
2 December 2021
Future Fund: Breakthrough is a £375 million, UK-wide programme that invests alongside private investors to increase the size of later-stage funding rounds. On 17 November 2021, British Patient Capital announced the first investment under this programme, as part of a £60 million Series D funding round for Bristol-based company Ultraleap. There is no upper limit for round size and hence future investments may be in rounds above the £100 million threshold identified by the Council for Science and Technology.
The Life Sciences Investment Programme is a £200 million government commitment, aiming to attract at least £600 million of investment in total to be deployed within 10-15 years. It is a targeted, sectoral intervention to address the sector-specific funding gap faced by growth-stage life sciences companies in the UK. The programme will invest in funds rather than individual companies, with the aim of enabling the emergence and development of specialist UK-based fund managers.
Both Future Fund: Breakthrough and the Life Sciences Investment Programme are administered by British Patient Capital, a commercial subsidiary of the government-owned British Business Bank.
In addition to these specific programmes, the Government is considering the analysis and recommendations made by the Council for Science and Technology and is engaging with institutional investors to explore the scope for an increased allocation of investment capital to research-intensive UK companies, particularly for scale-up investments over £100 million. This builds on the actions set out in the Government’s Innovation Strategy, published in July, to support access to scale-up finance for innovative science and technology companies.