Direct Investments

Life Sciences: A discussion about healthy investment

Ryan Cawood, CEO and Jocelyne Bath, COO – OXGENE recently outlined OXGENE’s beginnings, how Mercia’s latest investment has helped their biotechnology business successfully scale and their plans post COVID-19.



The Life Sciences portfolio collectively accounts for approximately 30% of the portfolio and this interview with Edison’s outlines:

  • Why Mercia invests in the sector with a strong regional focus
  • Why we believe our Complete Connected Capital is a key differentiator
  • What role university partners and NEDs play in Mercia’s model
  • The strategy in action – Native Antigen Company and Optibiotix
  • What impact COVID-19 has had on the portfolio
  • Dr Mark Payton’s view on the COVID-19 vaccine development.

In this interview you can hear from Mercia’s CEO, Dr Mark Payton and two senior members of the Life Sciences investment team, Dr Mark Wyatt and Chief Operations Officer, Peter Dines.



All of Mercia’s Life Sciences direct investments originated from its third-party managed funds and in addition to these investments, Mercia has a further c.40 Life Sciences investments across its third-party managed funds.

There is no doubt that the Life Sciences sector represents a significant growth area in the UK. Mercia has invested in the sector for over 15 years, which is reflective both of our regional footprint and the strong opportunities that typically exist outside of London as well as Mercia’s connections with the regional universities, which historically have been a good source of deal flow.

Mercia’s Complete Connected Capital model offers approximately £872million of assets under management that includes around £230million of free cash to invest in businesses through a suite of overlapping funds. This allows Mercia to put in place the right capital at the right time for owners as they seek to scale their businesses. With Mercia’s sustainable, long-term capital solutions, owners do not need to think about the next investment, in turn allowing them to fully concentrate on what it takes to grow their businesses. They are able to leave their funding needs to Mercia, while benefitting from Mercia’s experience, network and proactive, hands-on support as an investor. In addition, this model has facilitated the type of relationships that have seen Mercia backing serial entrepreneurs, a good example being PsiOxus Therapeutics that was spun out of the University of Birmingham. After scaling this business, the founder went on to start The Native Antigen Company, that was sold this year to LGC for £18.0million, as well as OXGENE, whose revenues continue to scale.