IRELAND has invested nearly $40m (€30m) in a huge venture capital (VC) fund in the hope of bringing investment to Ireland.
The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) has put $12.5m into the fund run by US VC firm Sofinnova Ventures while Enterprise Ireland has put in $25m.
The $440m Sofinnova Ventures Fund VIII is focused on making investments in the life science sector around the world and the firm will open an office in Dublin as part of the deal.
The investment is the first one to be made by EI and the fourth by the NPRF as part of the Innovation Fund for Ireland (IFI).
The IFI, which was launched in 2010, will see the NPRF and EI invest up to €125m each in various funds in the hope of attracting investors to Ireland. While the NPRF makes its investments as a commercial venture, any fund that takes cash from EI must spend at least that amount supporting Irish companies or companies with a "significant" presence in Ireland.
In a statement yesterday, NPRF chairman Paul Carty said he was "pleased" to have made the investment. "Sofinnova is a market leading life science venture firm with a strong track record and the NPRF is pleased to be able to support Innovation Fund Ireland in a way that meets our commercial investment criteria."
Sofinnova Managing Partner Mike Powell welcomed the NPRF to "our distinguished group of limited partners, and look forward to continuing to develop world class life sciences companies on behalf of our investors".
EI is expected to make a number of other investments in venture capital funds in the coming months, while the NPRF's previous investments include Polaris Capital, which set up DogPatch Labs in Dublin's Docklands. It also put money into two funds run by technology investor DFJ Esprit. As part of that deal, high-profile tech investor Brian Caulfield now represents DFJ in Ireland.