Ontario to invest $50M in life sciences venture capital funds

The Ontario government said it has established a new venture capital fund or a fund of funds to invest up to $50 million in venture capital funds focused on life sciences.

The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC), on behalf of the Ontario government, has issued an expression of interest (EOI) to identify fund managers to partner with other institutional investors such as corporations, banks and pension funds.

Launched on February 27, 2009, the principal business of the OCGC is to manage the limited partner interests of the Government of Ontario in the Ontario Venture Capital Fund LP (OVCF) and the Northleaf Venture Capital Fund LP (NVCF), and to manage and operate the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund (OETF).

The new initiative is the third such announcement made by the Ontario government in the last two years.

In February 2017, OCGC issued EOIs to find fund managers to manage a proposed $137.5 million Cleantech Equity Fund. No update was forthcoming

In January 2018, OCGC announced its intention to invest $60 million into venture capital funds focused on sectors of strategic importance to Ontario’s economy, such as information and communications technology (ICT), cleantech, and life sciences.

photo credit: OCGC

News Release

Ontario Supporting Growth of Life Sciences Businesses
Ontario Capital Growth Corporation Seeks Fund Managers

March 1, 2018 9:00 A.M.Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science

Ontario is moving forward with a venture capital fund to help life sciences firms access the capital they need to grow their business, create jobs and compete globally.

The Ontario Capital Growth Corporation (OCGC), an agency that manages the province’s venture capital equity interests, has issued an expression of interest to identify fund managers to partner with other institutional investors such as corporations, banks and pension funds.

Ontario’s new venture capital fund focused on life sciences is designed to respond to the challenges faced in raising capital by innovative, high-potential life sciences companies to scale up and reach global markets. It will also help businesses foster new discoveries, including new technologies, treatments and cures for illnesses while supporting high quality, knowledge-based jobs for people across the province. It will also drive Ontario’s ability to attract and retain talent.

Supporting innovation in the life sciences is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts
Ontario will invest up to $50 million in venture capital funds focused on life sciences.
Ontario is the largest life sciences jurisdiction in Canada with more than 50 per cent of overall Canadian revenue.
Ontario’s life sciences sector includes approximately 1,840 firms employing close to 61,000 people.
OCGC, the venture capital agency of the government of Ontario, was created to promote and develop the venture capital sector in Ontario, so that more high-potential technology companies have access to the capital needed to grow and prosper.
OCGC investment activities have resulted in over $300 million invested in high potential technology companies, including globally recognized Shopify and ecobee.

Additional Resources
Life Sciences Venture Capital Fund Initiative
Business Growth Initiative
Ontario Capital Growth Corporation


“Providing much needed capital to growing life sciences companies is a crucial step towards a strong and sustainable life sciences ecosystem. Supporting high-potential life sciences companies will create good jobs and help commercialize technologies and services for improved healthcare at home and around the world.”
Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science

“Capital financing, including venture capital, is essential for many innovative companies. OCGC is pleased to play a role helping Ontario-based companies scale-up and succeed at home and in global markets.”
Steve Romanyshyn, OCGC President and CEO

Media Contacts
Lauren Souch
Minister’s Office

Brigitte Marleau
Communications Branch

Ted Liu

Ted Liu, M.Sc. (Mining, Queen's), MBA (Finance, Toronto), is the Editor of Private Capital Journal, CanadaMetals.ca, TechWire.ca, and the former Editor of Canadian Private Equity. Ted has been passionately tracking Canadian private capital industry since 1992, having most recently served as Research Director for The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA).

Ted is the architect of CVCA infobase, and is the architect of CPE Media's Financings.ca, Canada's most sophisticated and advanced all private capital and public market financing database.