Backing Innovation in Life Sciences – Factsheet

British Patient Capital, a subsidiary of the British Business Bank, was established in 2018 with £2.5bn to invest on fully commercial terms alongside private sector investors into UK-focused venture and growth capital funds, to generate commercial returns and crowd in additional private capital. The funds then invest in high-growth, innovative UK companies. Additionally, British Patient Capital also invests directly into growth stage, R&D-intensive companies in Life Sciences and Deeptech, supporting ambitious entrepreneurs who want to build successful, world-class businesses.

cartoon or drawn woman sitting at desk looking at microscope with vials.

Compared to the US, Life Sciences companies in the UK face a gap in the funding available over the course of their development, representing significant untapped economic potential for the UK. British Patient Capital plays an important role in catalysing additional private sector capital into scaling Life Sciences companies in the UK, both by investing in Life Sciences funds and by investing directly into growth stage Life Sciences companies.

The British Business Bank has a strategic objective to back innovation, by ensuring the UK’s most innovative businesses, including Life Sciences, Deeptech, and cleantech companies, can access the capital they need to start and scale. Through our various programmes, over 300 Life Sciences firms have received around £1 billion of investment.

As the largest domestic investor in UK venture and venture growth funds, British Patient Capital is drawing on its strong track record, established network of relationships, and experienced investment team to help ensure innovative UK Life Sciences companies have the patient capital they need to fulfil their potential.

  • Investing in Life Sciences funds: British Patient Capital has committed over £160m to six UK Life Sciences-focused venture capital funds as part of its core programme, making it one of the most active fund of funds investors in the sector, Additionally, its Life Sciences Investment Programme has £200m to make cornerstone commitments to later stage Life Sciences venture growth funds with a strong UK focus.
  • Investing directly into Life Sciences companies: British Patient Capital has committed £89m to eleven UK Life Sciences companies at growth-stage funding rounds, alongside £333m from private sector investors, through its £425m Future Fund: Breakthrough programme, launched in July 2021. British Patient Capital is now the most active growth stage investor in UK Life Sciences companies.
  • Catalysing private sector investment into Life Sciences: Through all its investments, British Patient Capital is achieving a ‘multiplier effect’, crowding in additional private sector capital into scaling Life Sciences companies in the UK.

The Challenge

The Life Sciences industry is one of the largest and most strategically important technology sectors in the UK economy. Research from the Office for Life Sciences, finds that over 6,800 businesses are active in the sector, generating £108.1bn in turnover and employing 304,200 people – with both of these measures of economic activity on a continuous upward trend since 2008. 

The UK is a globally leading destination for Life Sciences VC investment, having maintained a global market share of around 5% over the past decade. However, when considered in the context of its world class R&D capability, it is apparent that there is still potential for the UK to commercialise and capitalise on these strengths more successfully.

Facts and Figures


VC investment in UK Life Sciences companies in 2022, compared to £47.0bn raised by US companies.¹


the government’s budget for health R&D in 2020, ranking the UK third globally as a proportion of GDP. ²



the UK’s Medicine research publications were among the top 10% most-cited globally in 2017-2021– above the US, France and Germany. ³


of total UK VC investment between 2020-2022 was in Life Sciences.⁴

What we are doing

The British Business Bank wants to ensure that high growth potential companies in the UK’s most promising sectors can access the growth capital they need to scale up, innovate, and create jobs and economic growth here in the UK. 

At the earlier stages, through the Bank's Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) programme, 59 Life Sciences small businesses have been supported with £132m of investment from the ECF funds. At growth stage, support for Life Sciences is delivered by British Patient Capital, which invests both as a Limited Partner (LP) in Life Sciences focused funds, as well as a direct investor into UK Life Sciences companies with cutting edge technologies.

Investing in Life Sciences funds

British Patient Capital has made commitments to more than 70 venture capital funds through its core programme. This includes commitments of over £160m to six UK Life Sciences-focused venture capital funds, making it one of the most active fund of funds investors in the sector, with a highly experienced, specialist team of Life Sciences fund investors. British Patient Capital’s existing dedicated Life Science fund managers that are active in the Life Sciences sector include:

Abingworth Logo
Logo advent life sciences
Dementia Discovery Fund logo
Logo Early Bird Health
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Logo SV Health Investors

An independent evaluation has shown that British Patient Capital is effectively backing innovation and cementing the UK’s position as a science superpower.


of surveyed BPC-backed firms are using the equity investment to fund research and development.


of surveyed firms receiving BPC-backed investment went on to commercialise new services and products.


of BPC-backed companies are academic spinouts, compared to just 2% of all equity-backed companies.


of BPC-backed firms are later growth stage companies, compared to 9% of all equity-backed companies.

Life Sciences Investment Programme

Recognising the specific growth equity gap faced by Life Sciences companies in the UK, British Patient Capital launched the £200m Life Sciences Investment Programme (LSIP) in July 2021. LSIP makes cornerstone commitments to later stage Life Sciences venture growth funds with a strong UK focus, so that capital-intensive, cutting-edge firms in the sector receive the long-term funding they need to succeed in the UK. To further support the objectives of LSIP, British Patient Capital also entered into a collaboration agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company. LSIP aims to:

  • Increase the supply of venture growth finance to high-growth and innovative Life Sciences companies in the UK;
  • Signal the competitiveness and commercial viability of the UK Life Sciences sector;
  • Enable the emergence and development of UK-based, large-scale, Life Sciences specialist fund managers.
two cartoon people shaking hands in businesswear

In January 2023, the programme invested $67m as a cornerstone investor in SV Health Investors’ SV Biotech Crossover Opportunities Fund (SV BCOF).

Investing directly into Life Sciences companies

British Patient Capital launched its Future Fund: Breakthrough programme in July 2021 with £425m to invest in Life Sciences and Deeptech companies led by ambitious entrepreneurs who want to build successful, world-class businesses. British Patient Capital’s investment team aims to identify and support companies that have the potential to scale breakthrough technologies internationally, and define new categories, all from a core of R&D carried out in the UK.

British Patient Capital has invested in eleven stand-out UK Life Sciences companies through the Future Fund: Breakthrough programme. To be eligible for investment, companies must be registered in the UK, with a meaningful proportion of management and the majority of R&D taking place in the UK. British Patient Capital invests between £5m and £10m into funding rounds of at least £20m, as a co-investor in partnership with the private sector.

Future Fund: Breakthrough – Life Sciences Portfolio

Logo Curve Therapeutics
Epsilogen logo
Grey Wolf Therapeutics logo
Logo - Microbiotica
Logo - Nucleome
OMass Therapeutics Logo
Logo Phagenesis
Perspectum Logo
Proximie Logo
Logo - Quell TX
Tenpoint Therapeutics logo

The Future Fund: Breakthrough portfolio demonstrates the breadth and calibre of opportunities in the market for growth stage investors in the UK. British Patient Capital has supported these companies alongside investment from some of the leading Life Sciences investors globally, including Advent Life Sciences, Oxford Science Enterprises, Epidarex Capital, SV Health Investors, and Syncona from the UK, Sofinnova Partners, Andera Partners, and Jeito Partners in Europe, Canaan Partners, F-Prime, Emerson Collective and Health Quest Capital in the US, and the corporate venture funds of Merck KGaA, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis and Pfizer.

Future Fund: Breakthrough has been well-received by the market. British Patient Capital supports companies with its ability to provide domestic, stable capital with long-term investment horizons, and a shared commitment to their ambitions to build globally relevant Life Sciences companies. An independent evaluation of the Future Fund: Breakthrough programme found that there is a clear market need for FF:B and the programme’s design is broadly appropriate given its objectives. However, it is too early to measure the overall impact of the funding deployed so far.


of FF:B Life Sciences portfolio is categorised as Platform Therapeutic companies.


Average contribution to total round for FF:B supported Life Science companies.

Case studies

Investing in Life Sciences funds 2

Case Study: SV Health Investors

Founded in 1993, SV Health Investors is a UK-based venture capital firm managing $2.4 billion in AUM across 11 specialist Life Sciences funds alongside its US affiliate.

SV’s biotech team, headquartered in the UK, has successfully invested in innovative biotech companies seeking to deliver lasting impact through improved treatment addressing critical unmet medical needs. SV has backed more than 200 companies in its 30-year history and its biotech investments have delivered 24 new therapeutics, of which six represent new drug classes, materially impacting patient outcomes. In addition to its core biotech programme, SV manages the Dementia Discovery Fund, the world’s largest family of specialised venture capital funds that invests exclusively in companies developing or enabling novel therapeutics for dementia.

British Patient Capital has backed a number of early-stage biotech funds managed by SV Health Managers, namely SV 7 Impact Medicine Fund (SV 7 IMF) and the Dementia Discovery Fund I (DDF) from the core programme, as well the growth staged focussed Biotech Crossover Opportunities Fund (BCOF) from LSIP.

Investing directly into Life Sciences companies

Case Study: Perspectum

Perspectum offers machine-learning enabled, medical image analysis to deliver advanced whole organ digital biopsy support to help doctors make better decisions, personalise care for patients and ensure better outcomes.

British Patient Capital invested in Perspectum in 2022 through the Future Fund: Breakthrough programme, as part of a £31m Series C funding round.

Perspectum CEP, Dr Rajarshi Banerjee said: “We are excited to have British Patient Capital join our mission to create safer and more accurate imaging technologies that will help clinicians shorten patients’ diagnostic and treatment journeys. This new funding will help us to continue innovating new products that will make healthcare safer by providing non-invasive alternatives to biopsy, totally changing how and when we can see and treat many diseases.”

Get in contact

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Publication date: April 2024