Biotech is blossoming in India

As a director of two Indian companies I was most interested of the March issue of VCJ (always an excellent publication) and your special report on India, which as most of your articles indicate has substantial potential. However, it does appear that most of the interviews and data you received only came from venture capital companies based in the United States and it is not clear that venture people (on the ground) in India were included.

It is not surprising that most these articles did not focus on life sciences, as that has been a small component—so far—of foreign investment in India. However, the comment on page 24 of your issue which says “just a single life science company has received VC in the past two years” is simply not true.

Venture groups based in India such as ICI Ventures and Westbridge Ventures (recently acquired by Sequoia) do not seem to have been interviewed on life science activities. Most exceptionally, there was no mention of The Biotechnology Venture Fund of APIDC Venture Capital Private Ltd. This $40 million life science venture fund in operation more than two years has made 15 life science investments—six new investments in 2006. It is the largest (until now the only) venture fund in India solely focused on life sciences.

It also has been quite successful in increasing the value of investments even though venture funds focused on early stage life science usually do not show such early positive results. This fund has investors from India, Saudi Arabia and Europe but not from the United States unless you include the International Finance Corp.

During the past several months this fund has become fully invested and will be going out for a second fund later this year.

Again, my compliments on an excellent publication.

Very truly yours,

Edmund M. Olivier de Vezin

Director, APIDC Biotechnology Venture Fund

Director, Trans-India

Founding General Partner, Oxford Bioscience Partners

Note: It looks like we relied on some incomplete data. Our apologies. Thank you very much for bringing us up to speed on what looks to be a very dynamic life sciences market in India. —Ed.