A life sciences investment group has launched a new network to help bolster the pharma industry in the UK.

The Life Science Angels Network (A4LS) provides SME life sciences companies with a professional network to grow and succeed.

The UK launch of A4LS was announced this week at the BioIndustry Association's UK Bioscience Forum and will bring together sector-experienced angels and generalist angels to invest in high quality life sciences firms.

The plan is that sector-experienced angels will provide guidance and validation in order for the generalists to invest in the life sciences sector.

The ultimate aim for the network is to encourage growth of this industry in Britain through wider investment, as smaller life sciences firms live and die on external funding, which in recent years has started to dry up.

It will be led by Simon Kerry and Will West, life science entrepreneurs with 20 years’ experience each, and Eileen Modral, investor development manager at Oxford Investment Opportunity Network. The network is supported by the BIA, Fasken Martineau, Nesta, OION and the Wellcome Trust.

The first A4LS meeting will be held in London next month and life science companies are invited to apply for an opportunity to present. A4LS aims to secure investments of up to £2 million per company.

Simon Kerry, A4LS network manager, said: "The Angels for Life Sciences network will address the need for a UK-wide angel investment network to provide angels with the opportunity to invest in high-quality, emerging life science businesses.”

Steve Bates, BIA’s chief executive, added: "Access to finance is the key challenge for life science companies and I am delighted that the A4LS network provides a new opportunity for start-up companies to access capital.