Cancer Research UK forms partnership with SV Health Investors in life sciences investment fund to accelerate development of cancer medicines

  • Strategic partnership between world’s leading cancer research charity and leading specialist healthcare investment firm with track record of creating breakthrough companies and treatments 
  • Major opportunity to progress charity’s research and translate scientific breakthroughs into new cancer medicines for patients
  • US$25 million investment by Cancer Research UK into new life sciences investment fund
  • Cancer Research UK to collaborate closely with SV Health Investors to identify research within charity’s network that could be rapidly developed

London, July 2nd 2019, Cancer Research UK, the world's largest independent funder of cancer research, today announced a strategic partnership with SV Health Investors (SV), a leading life sciences venture capital and growth equity firm, focused on accelerating the translation of Cancer Research UK’s research and the development of new cancer medicines for patients.

In conjunction with the partnership, Cancer Research UK is investing at least US$25 million in SV’s seventh biotech-focused venture capital fund, SV7 Impact Medicine Fund (the Fund), which is expected to raise US$250 million. Oncology is an important component of the Fund, which will target investing 60% into companies focused on oncology or oncology-related opportunities.

Cancer Research UK invests more than £400 million every year in cancer research, including through its UK network of 18 core-funded research centres, to accelerate the transition of lab-based discovery research into the clinic for the benefit of people affected by cancer. A key focus for Cancer Research UK is turning the charity’s promising science into successful cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. More than 30 partnered potential medicines are in pre-clinical and clinical development, and eight treatments are already available on the market and benefiting patients.

SV has been investing in biotech companies since the early 1990s and brings a proven track record of identifying early-stage cancer research opportunities and supporting their development into novel medicines. In 1998, SV worked closely with Cancer Research UK to establish Kudos Pharmaceuticals – inventor of olaparib, the first-in-class approved DNA damage response (DDR) inhibitor for cancer patients with BRCA mutations. In 2016, SV founded Artios, focused on developing next generation DDR inhibitors, also based on Cancer Research UK assets and sector expertise. In 2017, SV’s sixth diversified healthcare fund raised US$400 million, of which 45% was focussed on early stage Biotech investments, of which 66% were allocated to cancer-related research opportunities. SV7 will be solely focussed on Biotech investments.

Accelerating Cancer Research UK’s innovation through this partnership will complement the charity’s existing paths to commercialisation, which include research alliances with other scientific institutions, building spin-outs and licensing agreements with pharmaceutical companies. Cancer Research UK will collaborate closely with SV to identify promising, novel research from within the charity’s network that could be rapidly developed and scaled by securing external investment.

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “The strength of our science portfolio is unrivalled but only through working in partnership can we achieve the greatest impact. This partnership is a huge opportunity to accelerate our research and support the successful development of the much-needed treatments for people with cancer.”

Iain Foulkes, Cancer Research UK’s executive director, research & innovation and CEO of Cancer Research Technology, said: “We need to encourage more entrepreneurialism if we want to get more medicines to patients to beat cancer. This was recognised in the UK Life Sciences Strategy and this new fund, in partnership with SV, will be a huge boost to advancing cancer research here in the UK. The UK has some of the very best research in the world and partnering with a world leading venture group such as SV will accelerate progress and generate new biotech to be established here.”  

Kate Bingham, SV Health Investors’ Managing Partner, said: “Cancer Research UK is, undoubtedly, a world-leader in this field with the brightest scientists exploring the latest technologies and innovations. Working in close partnership gives us an opportunity to identify promising research within Cancer Research UK’s labs and give that science the investment, resources and expertise it needs to progress.”


About Cancer Research UK

  • Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
  • Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
  • Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on vital donations from the public.
  • Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival in the UK double in the last forty years.
  • Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that by 2034, 3 in 4 people will survive their cancer for at least 10 years.
  • Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
  • Cancer Research UK has extensive expertise in drug discovery and development as established through the charity’s Therapeutic Discovery Laboratories and Centre for Drug Development. The organisation also has access to large scale clinical trial capabilities through the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) network.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 0300 123 1022 or Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook.

About Cancer Research UK’s Commercial Partnerships Team
Our specialist Commercial Partnerships Team works with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. The team develop promising ideas into successful cancer therapeutics, software, devices, diagnostics and enabling technologies. This helps to accelerate progress in exciting new discoveries in cancer research and bring new treatments to patients sooner.


About SV Health Investors
SV Health Investors, formerly named SV Life Sciences, is a healthcare and life sciences venture capital and growth equity firm. SV targets early-stage opportunities in biotechnology, of which approximately 2/3 are in new companies created in-house; early-stage and revenue-stage opportunities in medical devices; and growth equity investments for later-stage businesses in healthcare services and digital health. Over the past 25 years, SV has invested in more than 175 companies. The firm currently has over $2.9 billion in capital commitments raised across seven private venture capital funds and one publicly listed fund.

SV Health manages the Dementia Discovery Fund, a specialist venture capital fund focused entirely on funding the discovery and development of novel, disease-modifying therapies for dementia patients, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. Established in 2015, the fund has raised £250 million from an influential group of strategic and financial investors committed to developing urgently needed new treatments that can alter the course of disease and help to combat the growing global health crisis from dementia.  

SV Health Investors has offices in Boston and London. For more information, please visit

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This press release is not an offer of securities for sale in the United States. Securities may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration, and it is not intended that any securities will be registered.  There is not and will not be any public offering of securities in the United States.

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