Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 6 August 2020

Mubadala backs French healthtech company through European venture capital fund

The $18m invested in Owkin is part of a $70m Series A funding round

From left - Nicolas Dufourcq, chief executive of Bpifrance; Bruno Le Maire, France's minister of economy and finance; Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Mubadala’s group chief executive and Waleed Al Muhairi, chief executive of Mubadala’s Alternative Investments and Infrastructure Platform at the February announcement of Mubadala's backing of the €1bn Large Venture Fund. Courtesy Mubadala
From left - Nicolas Dufourcq, chief executive of Bpifrance; Bruno Le Maire, France's minister of economy and finance; Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Mubadala’s group chief executive and Waleed Al Muhairi, chief executive of Mubadala’s Alternative Investments and Infrastructure Platform at the February announcement of Mubadala's backing of the €1bn Large Venture Fund. Courtesy Mubadala

Mubadala Investment Company made an investment in a French healthcare technology company through its €400 million (Dh1.65 billion)venture capital fund, the first investment the tech fund has made in France.

An $18m (Dh66.1m) investment was made in Owkin, a company that applies federated learning techniques to medical research, according to a company statement. Federated learning is a form of decentralised machine learning.

The amount invested is part of a larger $70m Series A funding round led by the company, with other investors including Bpifrance, Cathay Innovation, MACSF (a French pension fund for doctors), GV, F-Prime Capital, Eight Roads, Frst, and NJF Capital.

“Owkin is creating an efficient, global network to connect the medical research ecosystem, enabling pharmaceutical companies to access research-quality datasets in order to improve their R&D processes," said Ibrahim Ajami, head of ventures at Mubadala. "Owkin has everything we look for in a company, including a strong team solving a large and complex problem and pioneering technology."

Owkin said the money would be used to accelerate the federation of its research ecosystem, connecting clinicians and the pharmaceutical industry "at an unprecedented scale".

The company's platform connects data scientists, clinicians, academic researchers, and pharmaceutical companies using AI technologies. Owkin said that its system changed the way traditional medical research operated from a siloed, disjointed system into a more connected one, while still safeguarding patient privacy.

“We are changing the world of medical research by breaking down silos and augmenting research capabilities," said the company's chief executive, Thomas Clozel. "Numerous discoveries of new multimodal biomarkers and disease mechanisms are changing how pharmaceutical companies approach drug development and how clinicians design treatment plans for patients.”

The funding gives the company "the resources and the partners to position itself as a clear leader in the field of AI for biomedical research", Mr Higueret said.

In February, Mubadala announced that it will invest €1 billion in a French investment fund that will be managed by the country’s national investment bank, Bpifrance. The LAC I fund aims to raise €10bn that will be earmarked for investments in about 15 listed companies taken from a large pool of France’s leading corporations over the next decade.

Updated: July 2, 2020 04:47 PM

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