INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Capitalizing on the continued strong growth of Indiana's life sciences industry and an active venture capital market, leaders from BioCrossroads, Eli Lilly and Company, Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund, Indiana University, Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, and Credit Suisse today announced the establishment of the INext Fund, a $58 million venture capital fund of funds.
Organized through BioCrossroads, Indiana's initiative to grow, expand and invest in the life sciences, and managed by the Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group, the INext Fund includes investments from Lilly, the Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund (TRF), IU, Purdue, Notre Dame, and the Fairbanks Foundation. This fund of funds is a capital pool that will invest in venture capital funds that are focused on the life sciences, thus encouraging and facilitating direct investment in Indiana life sciences opportunities.
"Six years ago, we launched the Indiana Future Fund to stimulate and grow Indiana's venture capital sector, and we've made incredible progress building a market where VC firms, both local and out of state, are investing in our promising life sciences companies," said David Johnson, president and CEO, BioCrossroads. "Launching a follow-on fund like the appropriately named INext Fund is proof of concept of BioCrossroads' mission, and evidence of the substantial market opportunities here in Indiana to put private equity to work. Capital formation is a huge problem for every region across the U.S., but Indiana's institutional investors have once again proven ready, willing and able to build and maintain strong funding sources for our entrepreneurial companies."
Lilly, one of the original participants in the Indiana Future Fund (IFF), has committed an investment in the INext Fund.
"The INext Fund will be a catalyst for the continued growth of Indiana's life sciences. Our investment in the fund is smart not only from Lilly's business perspective, but we also view it as a part of a collaborative effort to strengthen our community," said Bart Peterson, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company. "Lilly's investment strategy is to find the best opportunities, and we look all over the world to find them. It just so happens that some of the best innovations are happening in our own backyard."
The Indiana Future Fund, a $73 million fund, has been the life blood of 14 Indiana life sciences companies, and continues to provide the foundation for Indiana's venture capital growth. The IFF has also been a trailblazer in securing additional capital from beyond Indiana for Indiana companies, helping to bring over $160 million to Indiana start-ups from venture capital firms across the country.
"Given the current challenges in the U.S. economy, building a return-driven fund of this magnitude is very impressive," said Phil Belt of Credit Suisse's Indianapolis office. "Indiana's life sciences industry is full of both promise and opportunity, and progress continues to be made. This state is now a life sciences leader and is on the map for venture capital firms from the east and west coasts and points in between."
Indiana has seen an increase in the number of entrepreneurial life sciences companies, both university-based and private start ups, since the formation of the IFF. One of the investments that the IFF firms made in 2006 was BioStorage Technologies, an Indianapolis based biomaterials storage and inventory management company. Since that time, BioStorage has tripled its workforce, announced a $6.1 million investment in a new facility in Indianapolis and will add another 125 employees by 2012.
"We brought this group of industry, university and community leaders together with a common goal -- to generate good returns on investment while doing good for our community," said Darren Carroll, vice president, Lilly New Ventures and chairman of the INext Advisory Committee. "This is how public-private partnerships work -- giving Indiana's life science companies the opportunity to compete and win in the global economy."
"We continue to see promising innovations from our technology transfer offices - more than 170 patents and 50 companies have come through the Purdue Research Foundation over the last six years," said Purdue University President France Cordova. "Having a vibrant venture capital community and bringing in new dollars from outside the state to help these companies grow is imperative. This funding builds the companies that will advance the life sciences and improve the health of Indiana's citizens."
Indiana University is tapping investments and private contributions to stimulate Indiana's economy. No tax or tuition dollars are involved. In early December, IU announced the formation of the $10 million Innovate Indiana Fund. "With incubators cropping up all over the state and breakthrough research coming out of our university labs, there continues to be great discoveries in our life sciences," said Indiana University President Michael McRobbie. "The INext Fund provides us with another way we can direct capital to talented and innovative companies and gives them another funding resource."
"By investing in INext, Notre Dame is supporting the advancement of the life-sciences industry in Indiana and throughout the nation, with the hope that this support will lead to new applications that will benefit the lives of many and also create successful businesses. It is a good investment from many perspectives," said Thomas Burish, Provost, University of Notre Dame.
Along with corporate and university investments, the INext Fund has received an investment commitment from Indiana's Teachers Retirement Fund as well as the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation.
"Indiana's robust life sciences industry is one of the key drivers of our economy, and investing in INext is expected to deliver investment returns by capitalizing on that strength," said Steve Russo, Executive Director of the Indiana State Teachers Retirement Fund.
"The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation is participating in the INext Fund both because we believe it is a good investment, but also because it is supportive of our goal of strengthening the economic vitality of our community," said Leonard J. Betley, president of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation.
BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana's initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region's existing research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development. BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Health Information Exchange, Fairbanks Institute for Healthy Communities, BioCrossroadsLINX, and Datalys Center), expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana's life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana's life sciences industry.
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