The Polish Development Fund Group (the PFR Group), through a special purpose vehicle PFR Life Science, carried out the first investment in the biotechnology sector, participating in the secondary public issue of shares of Selvita S.A., one of the largest innovative biotech companies in Europe. The PFR was one of the largest investors, acquiring shares for almost PLN 40 million. Selvita S.A. acquired a total of PLN 134 million for the implementation of the development strategy for 2017-2021 presented to the investors.
“The number of biotechnological undertakings worldwide is still growing. This shows clearly that biotechnology plays an increasingly important role in the economy. This area is difficult in terms of investment because it is associated with a higher risk. That is why initiatives such as today’s are all the more valuable” - said Jadwiga Emilewicz, Minister for Entrepreneurship and Technology.
The PFR Group, through its flagship Biotechnology Development Programme and the Ministry for Entrepreneurship and Technology, have been supporting the growth of the ecosystem for this sector for many months. The works on creating a comprehensive programme for the development of biotechnology are under way. The programme is set to include a number of measures, for example new regulations to facilitate clinical research, tax incentives and internships for students in companies. Now, in response to the needs of a dynamically developing industry, the PFR Group - through the company
PFR Life Science Sp. z o.o. - has decided to engage its capital in selected biotechnology companies, in particular those seeking sources of funding for clinical research. Investment in Selvita S.A. is the first investment of the company PFR Life Science, whose activity concentrates on investments in the biotech sector.
“The Polish capital market is still learning about the biotechnology industry. That is why we were very happy to receive information about the participation of PFR Life Science in the public offering of Selvita shares - which as a dedicated and long-term investor is a valuable partner for us. The participation of PFR Life Science in the public offering of shares was one of the key factors that allowed its effective placing. A strong declaration on the part of the fund in the course of the book building process was a pillar that ensured the stability of the process despite the turbulence that global indexes experienced during ongoing subscriptions for shares” - said Paweł Przewięźlikowski, co-founder, the largest shareholder and president of Selvita S.A.
The issue of shares was to procure the necessary funding for the implementation of the strategy of Selvita for the years 2017-2021, aimed primarily at increasing investment in the development of the innovation segment and the projects developed in its scope in the field of oncology. The key business objective is the development of the SEL120 project to the stage of phase II of clinical research and the signing of the partnering contract. The total financial outlays related to the investments plans for the years 2017-2021 will reach PLN 390 million. The planned expenditure on areas related to R&D will amount to approx. PLN 290 million by 2021, which means that the funds acquired from investors will cover approximately a half of that amount (the rest will be financed mainly from the already acquired grants and from own funds). Other investment expenditure, related to the construction of the Centre for the Development of Innovative Medicines (a comprehensive set of laboratories to develop original medicines), and to the development of the services and bioinformatic segments of the company, will be financed exclusively from grants and own resources (no funding from the issue).
“The Polish Development Fund heard the voice of the industry, which repeatedly stressed that Poland lacks dedicated sources of financing that would allow leading biotech enterprises to implement ambitious development plans that could result in the creation of Polish innovative medicines and technology in the future” - said Paweł Borys, President of the PFR.
“Apart from direct investment in major companies in the industry, we will also support the development of the sector through the activity of PFR Ventures, which will contribute to increasing the availability of capital for innovative companies at earlier stages of development “ - he added.
The Polish Development Fund Group, through PFR Life Science, is planning to invest a total of up to PLN 300 million in selected biotech companies, assuming an average size of investment between PLN 30 and 50 million. The investment activity in this sector is supported by industry experts who help assess the innovation and attractiveness of the development plans of selected companies.
The Polish Development Fund Group and Selvita are planning cooperation in the area of promotion of the industry and support for innovative biotech enterprises at earlier stages of development, inter alia through the creation of an expert group offering younger companies access to substantive knowledge and experience in raising capital.
A direct investor in Selvita S.A. will be the company
PFR Life Science Sp. z o.o. whose sole shareholder is, co-financed by Polski Fundusz Rozwoju S.A., Fundusz Inwestycji Polskich Przedsiębiorstw Fundusz Inwestycyjny Zamknięty Aktywów Niepublicznych (Fund of Investments of Polish Companies Closed Investment Fund of Non-Public Assets), managed by PFR Towarzystwo Funduszy Inwestycyjnych S.A.
Selvita S.A. is a Polish biotechnology company - one of the largest in Europe - operating in the field of discovering and development of medicines for use in the area of oncology. It also deals with the provision of laboratory research and development services for pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical companies from all over the world. Through its subsidiary - Ardigen - it creates advanced bioinformatics solutions. Selvita was founded in 2007. Currently, it employs over 430 people, one third of who hold a doctor’s degree. The headquarters of the Company and the laboratories are located in Kraków; the second laboratory branch is located in Poznań. Selvita has offices in the largest biotechnological centres in the world, in the Boston Area and San Francisco Area in the United States, and in Cambridge, Great Britain. In 2011, Selvita debuted on the NewConnect market. Since 2014, it has been listed on the main market of the WSE. In March 2017, it was included in the sWIG80 index. More information: www.selvita.com
The Polish Development Fund Group is a financial group comprising Polski Fundusz Rozwoju S.A., PFR Towarzystwo Funduszy Inwestycyjnych S.A. and PFR Ventures Sp. z o.o., offering instruments for the development of companies, local governments and private individuals, investing in sustainable economic and social development. It operates on the basis of a professional team and best international standards. The mission of the PFR - as a Polish financial institution for development - is to implement programmes conducive to increasing the long-term investment and economic potential of Poland as well as creating equal opportunities and the protection of the natural environment. More information: www.pfr.pl
PFR Life Science Sp. z o.o. is a portfolio company of the Fund, part of which is managed by the PFR, whose purpose is to invest in biotech companies, in particular those operating in the field of creating innovative medicines.