Hikma to launch $30 million VC fund for Jordan health startups

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Amman-based Hikma Pharamaceuticals is launching a $30 million fund through its investment arm Hikma Ventures, the company announced Sunday. It will be the first major fund in Jordan devoted to diagnostics, mHealth, and eHealth startups.

“We will invest in companies across different stages, including seed, series A and series B,” Hikma Ventures’ Managing Director Lana Ghanem told Wamda. “We are looking at digital medical devices, wearables, big data analytics platforms and telemedicine across areas like chronic disease management, oncology, respiratory, consumer health, and mental health.”

Hikma has been around since 1978 and is traded on the LSE, but this is its first venture capital fund, with Hikma Ventures being founded only in August. The fund is completely sustained by company revenue with no outside investors.

Ghanem went on to say the first few deals should be complete, and perhaps announced, in a couple of months. Initial investment size might be as much as $3 million for a given company.

While there are no outside participants in the company’s fund, they have been going through incubators and accelerators to find their deals, so expect a lot of co-investors when stakes actually are announced.

“We’re actively looking for deals in digital health and drug delivery,” Ghanem said to Wamda. “However, we’re opportunistic,” Ghanem went on to say, adding that, “Something may pop up on our radar and we may look at it … We’re geographically agnostic.”

Startups in Jordan

Jordan is a small tech market, but it is easier for Hikma to increase its influence with local companies before it moves abroad. The city hosts Startup Grind Amman and recently saw the opening of Orange’s accelerator, BIG at the King Hussein Business Park. Salaries are still comparatively low, with software engineers making an average annual salary of $16,800 while IT managers make $24,188, according to PayScale.

“It’s still very primitive compared to the U.S. and European markets, but this is where the opportunity is,” Ghanem told Wamda. “To create that ecosystem in the region, it’s going to require the efforts of not only the private sector or pharma companies,” but also “insurance companies and the Ministry of Health to believe in the field of digital health.”

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