Star fund manager Neil Woodford has warned that the UK is facing "economic doom" if it doesn't better support the development of early innovations coming out of the nation's top universities.
“We are failing as an economy to capture [the opportunity in science] and if we fail to capture that the economy is doomed," he told City A.M..
Earlier this year, he said he would commit as much as 85 per cent of his Woodford Patient Capital Trust into startup and emerging companies, both listed and unlisted. That's a rise on prior estimates made when the fund first launched in 2015, following "a knock" from market turbulence.
Among early stage investments so far have been several biotech firms and recently launched challenger bank Atom. The fund's investments are largely early stage, making up 46.1 per cent of all investments, while healthcare is by far the biggest sector, accounting for 64 per cent of investments, and 78 per cent are located in the UK.
Nasdaq-listed US biotech firm Prothena is its largest quoted holding, followed by London Stock Exchange-listed Circassia and the Aim-listed Verseon.
Its largest unquoted holdings have close ties to British universities. They include Immunocore, which was founded from Oxford University in 2008 and Oxford Sciences Innovation, a group formed to provide capital for spinout companies from the top university.