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Thursday, Jan 09, 2003

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Andhra Bank to invest Rs 10 cr in biotech fund

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ENABLING the Andhra Pradesh Government to finish the first closing of the proposed Rs 100-crore biotechnology venture fund, Andhra Bank, the Hyderabad-based public sector bank, has committed to invest Rs 10 crore in the venture fund to be managed by the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation Venture Capital Ltd (APIDC-VCL).

While the first closing of the fund at Rs 25 crore was achieved with an investment commitment of Rs 15 crore by the State Government, the size of the fund was being proposed to be taken up to Rs 100 crore.

The investment by Andhra Bank was approved at the bank's board meeting recently and its Executive Director, Mr R. Balakrishnan, announced the commitment at the partnership summit being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Tuesday.

He handed over the commitment letter to the APIDC-VCL Chairman, Mr S.M. Balasubramanyam, in the presence of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu.

According to a release by APIDC-VCL, the biotechnology venture fund was the first such venture to be launched in the country with the investment manager of the fund in a unique public-private partnership - APIDC-VCL, a joint venture between APIDC and Dynam Ventureast Pvt Ltd.

The fund would operate primarily as a start-up and early stage investor in businesses focussing on life sciences related areas such as healthcare, drug discovery, agriculture and dairy, and environmental and industrial applications.

The fund, which had already embarked upon the investment activity since mid last year, has so far reviewed over 70 proposals. The investment manager has also made in-principle commitment to six proposals and was in the process of signing letters of intent with another five companies.

The lead investment of Rs 15 crore by the fund in these 11 companies was expected to attract co-investment of over Rs 120 crore, the release said.

Though the fund would invest nationally in biotechnology opportunities, a significant number of its investee companies were expected to have operations across the borders, primarily in the US.

According to APIDC-VCL, strong entrepreneurial talent and location of a number of life sciences technology institutions in Andhra Pradesh was expected to attract a number of promoters to locate their facilities in the State.

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