New healthcare fund set by Ontario government and Korean VC

 New healthcare fund set by Ontario government and Korean VC

Image courtesy: Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Victor Fedeli’s Linkedin

In a groundbreaking move, the Ontario government and a South Korean venture capital firm, LSK Investment, have announced plans to establish a new healthcare fund. The fund size will be CA$100M (US$76M), dedicated to healthcare sector investments. This marks the first time a South Korean VC has jointly raised a fund with a local government in Canada.

LSK Investment, based in Seoul, made the announcement on Tuesday, which was first reported by KED Global. LSK and the Government of Ontario agreed to contribute CA$50 million each to the life-science venture capital fund. The Ontario government has already made an initial investment of CA$10 million. The fund is set to be established by the first half of 2024. It will invest in startups developing new drugs in both South Korea and Ontario.

“Canada’s federal government and companies plan to invest in the fund. In South Korea, we are working on attracting the central and local authorities, as well as domestic companies.”

Kim Myung Kee, LSK Investment CEO

Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Victor Fedeli, also highlighted his excitement about the development. He said the municipal government plans to support startups in which South Korea and Ontario invest actively. And it will help ensure a timely supply of medicines to markets. He also announced the news on Linkedin.

“This venture capital fund will make strategic investments in Ontario-based lifesciences companies & build on the $3B+ in investments we’ve attracted in the sector. Thank you, LSK!”

Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Victor Fedeli

Also read: AbCellera news: Government to pour CA$300M in new campus

New healthcare fund to help startups grow across continents

Ontario is a significant hub for North America’s bio and healthcare industries, alongside Boston, Massachusetts, and San Diego, California. The sectors contribute 13% of Ontario’s gross domestic product, employing around 70,000 people across approximately 1,900 companies. Earlier this year, global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies such as AstraZeneca plc and Moderna Inc. announced investment plans in Ontario.

Earlier in May, we wrote about Ontario’s BenchSci raising a CA$95M Series D round for its AI-driven research and development (R&D) acceleration for pharmaceutical firms.

LSK’s Kim highlighted Ontario’s strategic position as a gateway to the US market due to its proximity. The aim is to assist South Korean companies in making inroads into the US market through cooperation with the local government while supporting companies in Ontario to start businesses in Asia via South Korea.

LSK Investment specializes in investments in healthcare sectors such as chemical drugs and medical devices. This new fund represents a significant step in fostering international collaboration in the healthcare sector, potentially accelerating the development and distribution of new drugs and medical technologies.

As per Pitchbook data, LSK Investment’s most recent investment was in May in the Series A round of Trioar. Trioar is a pharmaceutical company that creates medicines to overcome the drawbacks of antibody therapies and antibody-drug conjugates. The company’s drugs identify cancerous lesions so that drugs can be swiftly absorbed and selectively target cancer cells while inducing rapid death of cancer cells. This enables healthcare providers to find treatments for patients and give them the care they need.

Also read: Feldan Therapeutics gets CA$16.5M for unique biopharma tech


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