Panakés holds first closing of new 'Purple' life sciences fund at EUR150m

Panakès Partners, an leading Italian venture capital firm focused on the Life Sciences sector, has held the first closing of its EUR150 million (USD180 million) Purple Fund, the firm’s second fund.

Panakès’ Purple Fund is currently the largest venture capital fund actively investing in Italian companies and the most significant fund dedicated wholly to the Life Sciences sector in Italy. The fund will invest in companies at the forefront of innovation, with a focus on Europe, and Italy in particular, which remains underserved in terms of Venture Capital funding.

The Purple Fund is the second venture capital fund dedicated to life sciences launched by Panakès Partners. Panakès’ first fund, raised in 2016, supported companies in the medtech sector. To-date it has invested in 12 portfolio companies, which have collectively received almost €200 million in funding.  Thanks to this financial support, these companies have already brought five innovative medical products to the market and have a further ten products in active clinical trials.

The Purple Fund has been backed by investors from the first fund as well as new investors. The Fund’s two anchor investors are EIF and the Fund of Funds FoF VenturItaly managed by CDP Venture Capital SGR. The EIF investment is backed under both the InnovFin Equity initiative from the European Commission under Horizon 2020, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, as well as the pan-European Guarantee Fund (EGF). 

These anchor investors have been joined by several Italian banking foundations and pension funds, as well as numerous Italian companies and family offices in the Life Sciences sector. These include Menarini, the Cogliati family (Elemaster Group), the Colombo family (SAPIO Group), the Rovati family (Rottapharm Biotech), the Petrone family (Petrone Group), the Re family (Digitec Group), the Bassani family (Movi Group) and others.

The Purple Fund will invest mainly in Series A funding rounds, as well as later stage opportunities. The majority of investments will be in companies developing innovative therapeutics and products in the fields of biotechnology, diagnostics, and medical devices.

The fund aims to support the growth of entrepreneurial companies who will reshape healthcare globally by addressing real medical needs, saving lives and providing a better quality of life for patients. By achieving these goals, the fund aims to generate value for both investors and for society as a whole.

“We are delighted with the successful first close of our new Purple Fund, and we would like to thank the high-quality investors who have trusted us. Over 500 innovative life science companies have already submitted funding requests to us in the first six months of 2021,” said Fabrizio Landi, President of Panakès and a founding partner of the firm alongside Diana Saraceni and Alessio Beverina. “The fund will remain open for additional subscribers until the end of the year, with a new target of EUR180 million. By expanding into the biotech sector, we hope to contribute to the growth of companies active in the development of new therapies and vaccines,” concluded Landi.

“Panakès has established a strong track record and solid international credibility since it was created a few years ago, also with the support of the CDP Group.” Says Enrico Resmini, Chief Executive Officer of CDP Venture Capital SGR. “We are delighted to invest in Panakès’ second fund, as it extends its activity into biotechnology, a sector where long-term planning and the availability of capital is essential to finance the R&D that is expected to lead to the innovative new therapies of tomorrow.”

Alain Godard, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund (EIF/FEI), adds: “We are happy to once again support Panakès after our previous investment in its first fund. Panakès has managed to build a strong brand in Italy and beyond thanks to its expertise in identifying and investing in novel medtech opportunities. With the extension of its investment strategy into biotech and the resulting growth of the team, Panakès will be able to further support European Life Sciences companies, and particularly those in Italy, which have exceptional R&D but are strongly underserved in terms of Venture Capital funding. We are glad to be able to use both the InnovFin mandate from the European Commission and the direct backing of EU Member States under the European Guarantee Fund to further support this exciting market segment.”

To support its expansion into the biotech sector, Panakès intends to recruit three new professionals with significant experience in drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry to its existing team, which is currently made up of 11 professionals. Recently Barbara Castellano has been promoted to the role of Partner, while the management team of the SGR has been strengthened with the arrival of a new CFO, Lorenzo Giordano, and a Financial Assistant, in the person of Andrea Steffanini.

Panakès Advisory Board has also been expanded and strengthened with the appointment of Biotech and Digital Health industry experts Fabio Pammolli, Professor of Economics, Finance, and Management Science at Politecnico di Milano, and Sergio Abrignani MD PhD. Full Professor at the National Institute of Molecular Genetics (​INGM) in Milan.