Downing LLP appoints Head of Healthcare Ventures to drive growth

Downing LLP (Downing) has appointed Dr Nigel Pitchford to the newly-created role of Head of Healthcare Ventures, as it builds on its position as an industry-leading healthcare and life sciences investor.

His appointment signals Downing’s strategic drive to develop a significant specialist healthcare platform to expand its retail funds alongside dedicated institutional offerings.

Nigel will be responsible for Downing’s investments into med-tech and life sciences companies with transformative technologies and ambitious growth plans. Nigel’s arrival underlines Downing's continued commitment to the healthcare sector and will help to increase the breadth and volume of Downing’s healthcare investment activity, complementing our asset-backed healthcare investments made by its private equity team (Downing Development Capital) led by Mark Gross.

This move also demonstrates the group’s focus on ESG and sustainability given the healthcare sector’s natural link to improving outcomes within communities and wider society.

Dr Pitchford brings 25 years of healthcare ventures experience from a range of firms including 3i Group, DFJ Esprit, Imperial Innovations and most recently as CEO of IESO Digital Health. He has a PhD in Chemistry from Durham University. Dr Pitchford joins Downing’s Healthcare Ventures team which, since 2014, has deployed over £36 million of venture capital across 20 businesses in the sector (as at 31 December 2021).

Dr Kostas Manolis, Head of Private Market Investments at Downing LLP, said:

“We have made the strategic decision to further invest in healthcare ventures - given the strength of the market, increased investor appetite post-pandemic, as well as the social impact element that is inherent in this sector, whether that’s improving patient outcomes or access to healthcare and innovation.

“We are delighted to welcome Nigel to help drive further growth for our ventures business. Nigel brings a wealth of additional experience and knowledge to our existing Healthcare Ventures team. He will play a key role as we look to build a significant investment platform across the healthcare spectrum with the aim of expanding our retail funds alongside bespoke institutional capital.”

Dr Nigel Pitchford commented:

“It’s a really exciting time to be joining Downing and the Healthcare Ventures team. There is already a great team that has built a compelling portfolio, track record and pipeline. I’m looking forward to using my experience to support the portfolio companies and, in turn, deliver enhanced returns for investors.

“Downing has a mature platform with a range of excellent services including distribution, reporting and operations, which is ready to support significant growth for the healthcare business.”

Read more about our healthcare ventures strategy here.