Novalis: the evolution of healthcare

  • Funds

Remarkably, Novalis also draws on its local network of entrepreneurs for funding: some 40 smaller local investors are participating in Novalis II.

PMV is also a long-term partner for several life sciences & healthcare companies through its fund investments. For instance, PMV invested in several funds active in that sector, such as Vesalius, Aescap, Bioqube, Capricorn health Tech, Droia, Heran, LSP, OMX Ventures and V-Bio. Partly thanks to those PMV financings, the sector was able to develop into an important ecosystem in Flanders that has produced success stories like Argenx, among others. But the story continues.

PMV continues to invest through funds in technology that is transforming healthcare. In 2021, PMV further complemented its life sciences & healthcare activities with a €5 mln investment in Novalis II, a promising fund that invests in very young companies focused on non-therapeutically related medical technologies, with a strong focus on Flanders. With the second fund, Novalis raised 27.4 mln euros last year to invest in about 20 companies. Some 30% of those funds are expected to be invested in incubation (‘seed and start-up’) and 70% in acceleration (‘early stage’).

Enabling technologies

The managers see great potential in so-called ‘enabling technologies’: young start-ups that are transforming healthcare by helping big pharma players make their business models more agile, smart and ‘asset light’ by offering external services, research and technology such as genomics or bioinformatics.

They also expect strong growth in personalised medicine in different areas such as the fusion of genetic sequencing and data analysis (‘genes and bytes’), online personal health monitoring, personalised immunotherapy or flexible manufacturing. The fund managers are convinced that innovative technology can address growing healthcare needs. The fund seeks to identify and support such technology at an early stage in order to build a strong scientific and business foundation for companies to grow and succeed.

Local network

Interestingly, Novalis is also tapping into its local network of entrepreneurs to finance the fund: some 40 smaller local investors are participating in Novalis II. They are often entrepreneurs who already invested in the first fund and are also stepping in the second fund. Novalis Fund 1 was founded in September 2018 and totalled EUR 4 million, which was deployed in eight companies, mainly in the Benelux region. A first exit was achieved with US portfolio company doc.ai, which was acquired by Sharecare as part of an IPO.

A strong start

The second fund certainly made a very strong start in the past year with three promising investments. It invested in Grapheal, a developer of portable biosensors that – for example – can continuously monitor the healing process of wounds, accessible directly on a smartphone. The fund also invested in Rheavita (which develops continuous freeze-drying technology for biopharmaceuticals) and in Modality.AI (which uses artificial intelligence to evaluate neurological and psychiatric conditions in patients, both at home and in hospital).

With its first fund, Novalis has proven that the team can create value through a hands-on entrepreneurial style and deep technological knowledge. PMV is confident that the Novalis Biotech Acceleration Fund will continue to support innovation and technology valorisation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Flanders region.

Visit the Novalis website