Mubadala plans healthcare fund for 2021 following coronavirus demand spike

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The venture capital arm of Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala plans to launch a healthcare fund next year to tap into increased demand for investment in life sciences and digital health technology following the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are considering next year developing a sort of healthcare-specific fund that can be focused on life sciences and healthcare over the coming decade,” Ibrahim Ajami, who heads Mubadala’s Ventures business, told Reuters.

“Our view is that investments in this space ... are only going to accelerate moving forward.”

Ventures is part of state investor Mubadala Investment Co, which manages about $240 billion. The state investor has itself invested in the healthcare sector, including in Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and home healthcare services firm Amana Healthcare, which it acquired last year.

Without giving specific detail, Ajami said he expected the new fund to be bigger than the Venture capital arm’s previous launches, such as a 400 million euro ($437.24 million) European fund launched last year as Ventures expanded its portfolio, initially focused on the US, into Europe.

He predicted a proliferation of technologies and healthcare companies in the coming years, focused on areas such as quick testing, personal diagnosis of symptoms and developing supply chains around healthcare.

“It is proven now that one epidemic like this can bring down the entire world. The role of technology becomes very, very important, specifically in life sciences and the healthcare space,” he said.

Ventures has invested in healthcare and life sciences over the past four years.

Apart from the European fund launched last year, Ventures manages a $400 million U.S-focused fund and a $250 million Middle East and North Africa (MENA) fund.

It also manages and oversees Mubadala’s partnership with SoftBank, including its $15 billion commitment to the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Mubadala’s venture arm has invested in VIR Biotechnology , which is developing potential treatment for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, and Innovaccer, a San Francisco-based healthcare technology company.

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