On February 13, during the Innovation for Health 2020 conference in Rotterdam, Focco Vijselaar, Director-General for Business and Innovation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, officially launched the ‘Fonds InvesteringsRijpe STarters’ (FIRST).
FIRST is a joint early phase investment fund of the Dutch CardioVascular Alliance (DCVA) and Regenerative Medicine Crossing Borders (RegMed XB) with a total volume of 9.5 million euros. The ministry is investing 5.5 million euros in the project, the DCVA and RegMed XB both invest 2 million euros. In addition to the FIRST fund, the partners invest in expert guidance for researchers to bring knowledge obtained by their research to patients. For this purpose, the ministry is investing an additional 2.5 million euros.
This initiative is important for Dutch patients, because of the gap that is still often found in translating results from fundamental medical research into available solutions, such as a new treatment or innovative technology. The various health foundations involved in the DCVA and RegMed XB have worked together to ensure that researchers receive support in taking the first step towards bringing their findings to the market.
The DCVA and RegMed XB are public-private partnerships that bring together the best researchers in the Netherlands in patient-driven development of new solutions aimed at preventing and curing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes and osteoarthritis. Together with university "knowledge transfer offices", the DCVA and RegMed XB are actively scouting for such solutions to help with the plans, team formation and initial technical and clinical evidence needed to attract other investors.
FIRST finances this first development into an "investment-ready" company based on proposals of sufficient quality and potential. The fund has an independent investment manager and committee and is managed by BioGeneration Ventures, one of the most successful venture capital firms investing in (the early phase of) European life sciences companies. After the launch, FIRST is working hard to start a first investment round this summer.