Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Plows $1.1 Billion into U.K. Life Sciences

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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. will invest 800 million pounds ($1.1 billion) in U.K. life sciences businesses as part of efforts to boost the sector following the coronavirus pandemic, the British government said.

The money will be pooled with 200 million pounds from the U.K. to help life sciences companies “scale and grow,” the Department for International Trade said Wednesday in a statement. The commitment, described by Investment Minister Gerry Grimstone as a “huge boost,” spans five years.

“We are very, very keen that we embrace ideas that we generate in the U.K. in life sciences, that they stay in the U.K., that they corporatize themselves in the U.K. and then hopefully they list in the U.K.,” Grimstone told Bloomberg Radio on Wednesday.

The deal is the first of its kind by the U.K.’s new Office for Investment as the country seeks to burnish its post-Brexit global status. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has vowed to turn the country into a science superpower, and the government last month established a new 800 million-pound Advanced Research and Invention Agency to fund “high-risk, high-reward” scientific research.

The government wants to ensure that home-grown companies remain rooted in the U.K. amid concern that domestic startups are too often sold off to foreign companies before they have a chance to scale up and generate bigger benefits for Britain.

Grimstone said he would use the joint United Arab Emirates-U.K. fund to bring new venture capital into the U.K. market.

“I can see a whole range of West Coast VCs who I’d like to see operating in London, and I’ve got no doubt that that injection of expertise, plus the injection of money into this sector will make a profound difference in the U.K.,” he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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