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Israel's largest health VC boosts fund to US$750m on virus

[TEL AVIV] Israel's largest venture capital (VC) investor in life sciences, AMoon, boosted the size of its biggest fund to US$750 million after demand for new healthcare technology rose during the coronavirus pandemic.

Existing and new investors contributed to the fund, known as AMoon II, which topped out at US$660 million last year, co-founder Yair Schindel said in an interview.

Investors "mostly panicked" at the onset of the pandemic, deciding to wait out the economic fallout, Mr Schindel said. But after about a month, "something defrosted and then they came back with a vengeance".

Recent US regulatory changes such as those that make it easier for patients to see doctors remotely and be reimbursed for those virtual visits are driving investor interest in healthcare startups, according to Tomer Berkovitz, the firm's chief financial officer. Venture capital investment in health-tech startups reached US$5.4 billion in the first half and is on track to top the record of US$8.2 billion set in 2018, according to a report by Rock Health.

So far, AMoon has invested about US$200 million from the fund in nine companies, and is in advanced talks with another three, Mr Berkovitz said. AMoon expects to complete the initial investments in the portfolio within two years, bringing the total number of companies to around 20, he said.

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The fund invests between US$10 million and US$25 million for startups, and reserves capital for subsequent investment rounds, Mr Berkovitz said.

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