Reliance ventures into VC financing for biotech with MPM Capital

As a first step, Reliance has joined MPM Capital''s latest fund, MPM BioVentures IV, as a limited liability partner, for its first venture capital investment. MPM Capital, which will work closely with RLS, said the BioVentures IV fund would explore the potential for a new India-only seed fund to invest in select emerging life science companies.

The US life sciences financier manages over $2.5 billion in assets through the MPM BioVentures Family of venture capital funds and the MPM BioEquities public market fund.

Speaking on the occasion, William Greene, managing director MPM Capital General Partner, said, "The partnership with RLS brings together the largest dedicated healthcare venture investor and one of the world''s most respected and successful industrial enterprises. RLS is creating one of the most diverse and integrated corporate life science efforts in the world today. There is no doubt that biotechnology is going global."

Greene also said, "As investing pioneers in the life sciences sector, MPM wants to be and needs to be part of the process. We believe that Reliance''s multi-faceted footprint in India provides a natural foundation from which to accomplish our objectives. Similarly, we expect the collaborative effort to help Reliance deliver on its own vision of coupling US innovation and entrepreneurship with talent and service delivery in India."

Mukesh Ambani, chairman, Reliance Group said, "The MPM Capital - Reliance Life Science strategic alliance brings about a new framework for fostering innovation by synergising enterprise and discovery capabilities outside India with people and development competencies in India. With MPM, we will look in the US and locally for co-investment opportunities. We believe that MPM represents the best partner for the effort, based on its scale, its leadership in healthcare venture capital, and its team."

Dr Greene explained that MPM is initially planning to help RLS grow its clinical research group globally. He commented, "The relationship will expand beyond supporting RLS''s outsourcing efforts to finding developing technology and products that will have relevance not only in the Indian market but also in world markets. To achieve that, we felt we needed a partner whose capabilities and presence in India, specifically its due diligence capabilities, in the local geography complemented our own track-record in recognizing innovation and in building companies."