Wales politics

Life sciences £100m fund in Wales open for business

Test tubes
Image caption 15,000 people in Wales work in life sciences

A £100m fund to help boost hi-tech medical and pharmaceutical companies in Wales is open for business.

Half the money for the Life Sciences Investment Fund is being provided by the Welsh government.

The rest will be raised by a company set up to run the fund and led by Welsh biotech entrepreneur Sir Chris Evans.

Ministers hope it will boost growth, create jobs and raise Wales' global profile as a base for life sciences - the study of living organisms.

It is one of the key sectors targeted by the Welsh government as having the potential to grow.

'Significant opportunities'

The Welsh government says life sciences - which includes pharmaceutical and medical technology firms - employs 15,000 people in Wales and is worth £1.3bn to the economy.

Ministers have previously spoken about their desire to make Wales an attractive place for scientific research and development.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: "Wales has significant opportunities in life sciences and we are determined to make the most of them.

"Life sciences businesses can grow very quickly in a global and growing market and we know the rewards for success are huge.

"A small number of successful businesses - compared to other sectors - can generate a great deal of economic value for Wales."

Based in Cardiff, the fund will be run by Arthurian Life Sciences, chaired by Port Talbot-born Sir Chris Evans.

He has stepped down as chairman of the Welsh government's life science sector panel which advises ministers on the industry.

Arthurian won a tender to run the fund and has committed to raising £50m for the project.

Sir Chris said: "I am delighted that through Arthurian, Wales now has its first genuine Life Sciences Fund up and running.

"It is fully active, FSA-regulated, cash in the bank, experienced fund management professionals running it and an excellent board of immensely successful individuals to govern and guide the fund over its lifetime."

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