– Biotech rally boosts 3i Bioscience

Thanks to a recent improvement in investor sentiment towards biotechnology companies, 3i Bioscience Investment Trust plc launched in early March with assets of slightly more than 380 million ($595 million). That figure represents an increase of 200 million from the valuation of the predecessor fund Biotechnology Investments Ltd’s (BIL’s) portfolio on 25 January, when the reconstruction and transfer of assets was proposed (EVCJ March 2000, page 9).

Appetite for quoted biotechnology stocks worldwide has been notoriously volatile, and in recent months, the bulk of interest from quoted and unquoted investors in technology has been directed towards IT, communications and the seemingly ubiquitous dot-coms. However, there are now signs that investors are beginning to look beyond IT and Internet opportunities.

3i Bioscience will rank as the UK’s largest quoted biotech vehicle and will maintain a portfolio of both quoted and unquoted holdings. The fund forms part of 3i’s overall plan to ramp up its rate of technology investment. Paul Waller, 3i’s director of fund management, says the restructured investment trust “is in line with group strategy to develop our technology portfolio and create a stable of specialist managed funds. It will also help bring an additional global focus to our biotechnology portfolio”. Director Andrew Musson of 3i Asset Management adds that the fund is positioned to capitalise on the high quality unquoted biotech opportunities 3i is currently sourcing across Europe.