Thursday, July 22, 2021

Claris I Biotech starts, with European funds to support biofarma early stage in Italy


Claris Ventures SGR announces the final closing of “Claris Biotech I” fund and “Claris Biotech I – Parallel Fund” for a total amount of € 85M. The capital raised will be mainly invested in new biotech companies based in Italy developing drugs to treat diseases with high clinical need.

The final closing has been subscribed by the European Investment Fund (EIF), with an investment of € 40M, supported by the European Commission’s “InnovFin Equity” programme, as well as the European Guarantee Fund (EGF). A further subscription of € 10M comes from CDP Venture Capital on behalf of the Fondo di Co-investimento MiSE, which follows previous subscriptions by CDP Venture Capital on behalf of FOF VenturItaly, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, Inarcassa, Ersel and other private individuals and family offices.

Two investments already in the portfolio, one of which in the immuno-oncology field and one in the metabolic field. The investment rounds in the first two companies, for a total of € 24M, were led by Claris Ventures as lead investor and saw the participation of international investors and pharmaceutical companies.

Claris Ventures, founded by Pietro Puglisi and Ciro Spedaliere, thus confirms itself as the main Italian VC firm with focus on early-stage biotech, a sector of strategic importance for the country. Biotechnological research is now at the center of public attention given the ongoing pandemic crisis, which has made us understand how important it is to transform research into drugs and, therefore, into companies. In this context, venture capital plays a fundamental role in contributing to the development of new therapies, acting as a link between research, finance and the pharmaceutical industry.

“The trust placed in Claris Ventures by important national and international institutions allows us to contribute decisively to the development of the Italian biotech sector, creating a positive impact on patients and generating economic and social value at the same time.” – state Pietro Puglisi and Ciro Spedaliere.

“The importance of early-stage ventures in the biotech field can easily be overlooked, and we need to ensure that funding is available so that these life-changing technologies can achieve their full potential.” said EIF Director Alessandro Tappi. “This investment in Claris comes at a crucial time when we are looking up towards the end of the COVID-crisis, and companies need all the funding they can get to grow and thrive.”

“We enthusiastically renew our trust in Claris Ventures, which supports the creation and growth of new Italian biotech companies, now more than ever at the center of national and international interest – states Enrico Resmini, CEO and General Manager of CDP Venture Capital Sgr – “We believe that the transition from labs to market is crucial to support the value chain of Italian research of excellence.”

“Our Foundation recognizes the great value of translational research in life sciences, therefore it has made its patient capital available for Claris Biotech I, which represents a very important signal for the possibility to support high quality Italian research in this field.” – declares Francesco Profumo, President of Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo – “Our commitment into Claris Biotech I fund highlights a vocation that our Foundation has matured in recent years and which is now becoming a strategic priority in all respects: to be an ecosystem developer, supporting entrepreneurship made in Turin and, at the same time, giving “oxygen” to sectors that have a strategic relevance for the Country.”


Claris Ventures SGR SpA

Claris Ventures SGR SpA is an Italy based venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in biotech. Claris Ventures aims at identifying and supporting innovative programs in the pharmaceutical field, investing in new companies that develop potential drugs capable of revolutionizing the current treatment scenario in indications with limited therapeutic alternatives. The firm has € 85 million under management and already invested in two biotech companies.


European Investment Fund

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

The EIF investment is supported by InnovFin Equity, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020). Through or alongside selected Venture Capital (VC), Business Angels (BA), Technology Transfer funds and funds-of-funds, the EU provides risk capital financing to enterprises, research organisations, universities in their proof-of-concept, pre-seed, seed, start-up and other early-stage phases allowing them to set up or reach their next stage of development.

The EIF participation is also backed under the European Guarantee Fund (EGF), which was set up by the EIB Group with contributions from Italy and other EU Member States to shield companies suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. Using nearly EUR 25 billion in guarantees, the EGF allows the EIB and the EIF to quickly make loans, guarantees, asset-backed securities, equity and other financial instruments available to mostly small and medium-sized enterprises. The EGF is part of the European Union’s recovery package aiming to provide a total of EUR 540 billion boost those parts of the EU economy that have been hit the worst.