Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), the venture capital investor focused on building world-leading deeptech and life sciences businesses connected with the Cambridge ecosystem, has completed a £225million raise for its second fund (Fund II).

With Fund II, CIC now manages in excess of £500m, giving it the scale “to support its portfolio companies throughout their life cycle, providing investment capital as well as strategic and operational support”.

Fundraising for CIC’s Fund II commenced one year ago, and six investments have already been made by the “preferred investor for the University of Cambridge”.

The six companies who have already benefitted from CIC’s Fund II are Riverlane, a quantum computing software provider; Pretzel Therapeutics, a leading developer of mitochondrial therapeutics; and Epitopea, a cancer immunotherapeutics company; Salience Labs, which is “commercialising a novel brain-inspired computer processor”; Seldon Technologies, developing machine learning models more accurately and 85 per cent faster; and Microbiotica, the ground-breaking microbiome specialist.

Andrew Williamson, managing partner of CIC, said:

“Cambridge, UK is one of the fastest-growing science and technology innovation ecosystems in the world. Since our inception, CIC and our co-investors have invested more than £2bn in sectors as diverse as robotics, semiconductors, genomics, gene therapy, therapeutics, liquid biopsy, artificial intelligence, and edge computing.

We are delighted to launch our new fund and to work with a dynamic group of entrepreneurs and investors to capture the full potential within the thriving Cambridge ecosystem.”

CIC invested in around 40 companies with Fund I, which Mr Williamson says is now “fully committed – not all the money has been spent but it’s now about follow-on investments”. Fund II expects to participate in 20-25 investments over the next four to five years. Participants in Fund II include a geographically diverse group of around 50 institutional and strategic investors, with almost half of the capital raised coming from the UK.

“In terms of CIC investing in businesses connected to Cambridge, there are a few ways that can manifest itself,” says Mr Williamson, speaking from the company’s new premises on Station Road.

“Around half are connected to the University of Cambridge, a good chunk come from other IP-generating institutions in the ecosystem, such as the Wellcome Sanger or consultancies, and then there are spin-outs from companies locate here such as Arm and Astra Zeneca.

“A new category we’re also seeing is ‘spin-ins’. This is a situation where funds around the world are asking ‘Where can we build this business?’ and Cambridge, certainly outside the US, is the best place to build the business – for instance, Epitopea, where the business plan has been developed by [CIC partner] Michael Anstey and a London team, and the IP has come from Montreal.”

Epitopea, a transatlantic cancer immunotherapeutics company and global leader in exploiting a new class of untapped tumour-specific antigens, this week announced a £10.3m seed investment from a transatlantic syndicate of top-tier life sciences investors including Advent Life Sciences, CTI Life Sciences, and CIC.

“Epitopea is focused on ‘junk’ DNA,” Mr Williamson adds. “It’s the non-coding DNA – and how to make therapies using it.”

Fund II’s 20-25 investments are “typically added in the first four or five years”, he adds, “then have a five or six-year maturation period”.

CIC’s first fund portfolio companies include CMR Surgical, which closed the largest medtech private financing round in the world in 2021 (£425m), valuing the company at more than £2bn, and Pragmatic Semiconductor, which recently raised $80m to build its second manufacturing facility in the north of England.

In addition to its portfolio companies, CIC has co-founded two Cambridge-based business accelerators, DeepTech Labs and Start Codon. The goal here is to support deeptech and life science entrepreneurs develop their commercialisation and technology strategy, bridging the gap between translational research and Series A-ready businesses.