Downing LLP recruits head of healthcare ventures to drive growth

Downing LLP has appointed Dr Nigel Pitchford to the newly-created role of head of healthcare ventures.

His appointment is part of a strategic drive to develop a specialist healthcare platform to expand its retail funds alongside dedicated institutional offerings. The move also supports the group’s commitment to ESG and sustainability given the healthcare sector’s natural link to improving outcomes within communities and wider society.

Dr Nigel Pitchford

Pitchford brings 25 years of healthcare experience to the role, having worked in firms including 3i Group, DFJ Esprit, Imperial Innovations and most recently as chief executive of IESO Digital Health. He joins Downing’s healthcare ventures team which, since 2014, has deployed over £36m of capital across 20 businesses in the sector.

‘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,’ he said.

Last week Downing LLP decided to focus its activities in the healthcare sector, selling its non-healthcare ventures investment business to Foresight Group Holdings Ltd. The sale includes the transfer of the investment management contracts for Downing Ventures EIS, Downing ONE VCT plc and Downing FOUR VCT plc and is expected to complete later this month. Foresight is expected to acquire the funds for an initial £13.6m.

‘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,’ said Dr Kostas Manolis, head of private market investments at Downing LLP.

‘We are delighted to welcome Nigel to help drive further growth for our 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, specialist healthcare investment platform with the aim of expanding our retail funds alongside bespoke institutional capital.’

As reported earlier this month, Downing agreed a £7.6m funding facility to support Country Court.