Fountain Healthcare holds first close on €75m

A biotech venture firm founded by former employees of the Elan Corporation’s venture arm is looking to carve a niche in Irish biotech, leveraging its international connections.

Fountain Healthcare Services, the first-time Irish venture biotech firm, has held its first close on €75 million ($117 million) nearly doubling its first close target of €40 million. It is setting its sites on a final close of more than €100 million.

Fountain Healthcare was founded by Manus Rogan and Aidan King, both formerly in the Irish team of the venture group at the Elan Corporation, a US NYSE-listed biotech company. Rogan spent the last seven years screening and managing investments in private and public biotechnology companies. King was one of the founder members of Elan’s venture group in 1998, leaving in 2004 to join Bio-IB, a US healthcare investment bank. 

The venture firm will invest between €500,000 and €7 million per company. It will not invest in early stage bio-tech. The strategy echoes veteran bio-tech venture capitalist Sir Christopher Evans’ move away from funding early stage research this month.

King said: “We are a product-focussed venture capital firm and we do not intend to fund research. We believe it is very difficult to fund that type of enterprise. The majority of investment will be done in Ireland and we can demonstrate to investors there is a critical mass of companies there of the right size.”

Rogan said: “The life science venture capital firms are bumping into each other [in the US], so we think it is attractive to our syndication partners to have strong local leads for deals in Ireland.”

The firm will invest the majority of its capital in Europe with an emphasis on Ireland. It also has an office in New York, which will allow it to look to exit companies on the US market, or seek US partners for syndication purposes. 

The remaining two partners in the team are also Irish: Ena Prosser worked for 12 years at the Elan Corporation in research and development and project management; Justin Lynch, the chief financial officer, co-founded Legend Care, a medical hosiery group.