Credit Suisse to pump $250 million into Israeli health tech venture fund aMoon

Fund set up by Israeli billionaire Marius Nacht invests in mid- to late-stage life science companies in Israel, the US and Europe

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative. Digital health technology. (chombosan; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative. Digital health technology. (chombosan; iStock by Getty Images)

The Swiss multinational investment bank Credit Suisse AG and Israeli life-sciences VC fund aMoon said on Wednesday they have formed a strategic partnership that will see the Swiss financial group injecting $250 million in aMoon’s newly set up second fund.

The partnership will enable Credit Suisse and its unit Credit Suisse Asset Management to allow its clients and institutional investors outside the United States and Canada “exclusive access” to aMoon’s portfolio of companies, a joint statement said.

aMoon Partners, an Israeli life-sciences venture capital firm that is backed by Israeli billionaire Marius Nacht, said last month that it raised $200 million for its second and latest fund, out of a targeted total of $500 million.

aMoon II invests in mid- to late-stage life science companies in the field of digital health, medical technologies and biopharmaceuticals that operate in Israel and in other health-tech hubs like the US and Europe.

Check Point Software Technologies co-founder Marius Nacht (Courtesy)

The new fund will invest in companies that will be able to integrate digital health advancements such as AI, machine learning, and big data computing into drug and medical device development.

Yair Schindel, the co-founder and managing partner of aMoon, said that the partnership with Credit Suisse will have a “tremendous impact” on the fund’s “relentless pursuit to accelerate healthcare.”

“This strategic partnership is perfectly timed to leverage the growing convergence of technology and healthcare. Breakthrough scientific research, innovative technology, and decades of digital health records make Israel an ideal launchpad for leading this global transformation in healthcare,” he said.

There are some 1,487 life science companies operating in Israel, which have raised some $13.5 billion in 1997-2017, according to Tel Aviv based IVC Research Center, which tracks Israel’s tech sector.

Credit Suisse sees health tech as an “important part” of its long-term investment themes and Credit Suisse Asset Management sees the sector as an “attractive investment opportunity in the current market environment,” the statement said.

“It is critical that, disruptive businesses, which are committed to resolving some of the healthcare sector’s most pressing issues, receive access to venture capital and the liquidity they need,” Michel Degen, CEO of Credit Suisse Asset Management Switzerland and EMEA, said in the statement.

Nacht, considered to be one of the founding fathers of global cybersecurity for his role in founding Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., is a co-founder of the fund. He and Schindel have also set up a nonprofit organization that aims to make Israel a global leader on the healthcare map.

The first $200 million fund, aMoon I, set up two years ago, invested in early-stage health technologies and life sciences firms, and was backed exclusively by Nacht. aMoon I is invested in 16 startups, including BiondVax, a publicly traded maker of a universal influenza vaccine, and Mapi Pharma, which announced in April a development and commercializing partnership with US pharma giant Mylan for a monthly treatment for relapse remitting multiple sclerosis.

Nacht serves as chairman at Checkpoint, whose 1996 IPO raised $67 million and is the second-largest company in Israel in terms of market capitalization.

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