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Downing LLP launches 'knowledge intensive' EIS fund to fuel entrepreneurial healthcare businesses

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Specialist tax-efficient investment manager Downing LLP is pleased to announce the launch of a new Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), giving investors the opportunity to support the unprecedented growth of companies at the cutting edge of healthcare.

The Downing Healthcare EIS Knowledge Intensive Fund is the latest addition to Downing's prominent range of tax-efficient investments, which also includes Downing Ventures EIS and VCTs.

As the fund invests in knowledge intensive (KI) companies, this allows investors to receive attractive income tax relief in the same tax year the investment is made, as well as carry it back to the previous tax year. Investors who subscribe before the first close of the fund on 1 April 2021 can benefit from the income tax relief in the 2019/20 tax year as well as the 20/21 tax year.

Downing has a dedicated and highly experienced healthcare and life sciences team that since 2014 have deployed over £27 million of venture capital across 17 businesses in the sector. They are part of the wider Downing Ventures team of 13 which has deployed more than £150 million to date.

Will Brooks, investment director in the healthcare and life sciences team at Downing, explains why this is a unique moment for UK-based companies in the healthcare and life sciences sector:

"The UK is the perfect ecosystem for fostering healthcare and life sciences, with its world-leading institutes and remarkable successes such as the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

"And with further funding, we believe that the UK can really cement its place as a leading global healthcare and life sciences hub. There are a number of trends that we expect will continue to experience excellent growth, as the world fully wakens up to the importance of innovative healthcare in light of Covid-19. These include personalised medicine shaped by genomics, cell therapies and digital health, as well as hardware and artificial intelligence (AI) innovations that will help push out diagnostics to the point of care."

Due to the high-risk nature of early-stage investments (in return for potentially higher returns), the fund is aimed primarily at higher net worth investors. But to reflect the rising market demand for healthcare investing in the wake of Covid-19 and the company’s desire to maximise support for healthcare businesses, Downing has reduced its usual minimum investment from £15,000 to £5,000. This also makes investing easier for those who may wish to put a smaller part of their overall portfolio in a single sector investment. The fund is still intended as a long-term investment with an expected holding period of four to eight years. 

EIS tax reliefs

The EIS offers investors 30% income tax relief on their investment, if held for three years or more, any profits are free of capital gains tax (CGT), and are potentially free from inheritance tax if held at death.

Downing LLP is an investment manager with over 30 years of experience, more than £1.2 billion assets under management and 25,000 investors. The business has made a firm-wide commitment to the principles of responsible investment by assessing opportunities for both their profitability and their environment and social impact. Downing believes this approach can make investments more rewarding: rewarding by being profitable for its investors, rewarding by being supportive to the businesses it funds and, through their success, ultimately rewarding for society.


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