In an effort to boost early stage innovation, the B.C. government plans to invest $100-million in venture capital funding for tech companies within the province. The move is also aimed at improving B.C.’s current growth rate, encouraging sustained and long-term progress in the competitive life sciences sector.
“British Columbia’s life sciences sector is an innovative, entrepreneurial community with exceptional research talent producing new inventions that are translated into healthcare products and services used around the world,” says James Hatton, chairman of the board of directors at LifeSciences BC, a not-for-profit industry association. “The BC Tech Venture Capital Fund will help lead early stage companies to become medium sized and eventually big growth companies all the while developing innovative products and services.”
Life Sciences is a capital intensive industry and early stage companies require large placements of capital to be successful and commercialize their products and services. LifeSciences BC welcomes the BC Tech Fund proposed by the government and its ability to infuse capital into the BC tech sector through leveraging this initial money. It is also important that the government has decided to look to create a healthy funding infrastructure through working with a fund manager from the private sector to help with this fund and its future plans.
“The BC Tech Fund will be a catalyst for larger and more sustained growth in the Province’s life sciences sector. Propelling the early stage companies to the next level of growth and delivering value, will be key to the fund’s success,” says Paul Drohan, president and CEO of LifeSciences BC. “We see this fund as an essential element, augmenting our strong and active angel investment community, and key to helping rebuild our local venture capital support for the life sciences community in BC.”
The recent 2015 PWC Economic Impact Now and in Future Report on the Life Sciences Sector in BC, revealed that the sector contributes $14.4-billion to B.C.’s GDP and employs around 177,000 highly skilled, trained and educated workers in life sciences.