It has been a busy few years for healthcare and covid has accelerated interest in the windfall landing on the sector.

US healthcare venture fundraising set a record in 2019, reaching $10.7bn, a 10% increase over the previous year, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s annual report. This year will go even further given venture fundraising in healthcare soared to $10.4bn in the first half of 2020, nearly matching 2019’s full-year record, SVB said in its mid-year update.

The latest to the fray is UK-listed drugs developer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which has spun off its corporate venturing unit, SR One, and become the largest limited partner (LP) in its first independent $500m fund.

Founded by GSK in 1985, SR One said the other LPs in its fund came from institutional asset managers, endowments, foundations, pension funds and family offices rather than other corporations.

David Redfern, chief strategy officer at GSK, said: “The close of the fund at the hard cap and its oversubscription by global investors underscore the team’s abilities and strong track record. Importantly, GSK remains fully dedicated to investing directly in innovative new science, as witnessed by its recent strategic partnerships in Vir Biotechnology, 23&Me and Lyell, in addition to its ongoing investment in SR One’s new independent fund.”

Simeon George, CEO of the new SR One Capital Management based in the US, added: “Our spinout from GSK and successful raise of a new independent fund provide a foundation for SR One’s next chapter, enabling us to scale our investment strategy and build upon our track record of success. Joining our core team in Europe are venture partners Rodger Novak and Eliot Charles, who played key founding roles in SR One portfolio companies Crispr Therapeutics and Principia Biopharma, respectively.”

Drugs peeer Sanofi recently acquired Principia for up for $3.7bn, while Novak co-founded Nasdaq-listed Crispr in 2013 with this year’s Nobel prize-winner, Emmanuelle Charpentier.

It is a powerful 35 years history and promises to be an even-brighter future.