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Cortex - Life Sciences Insights

| 1 minute read

Could PISCES be written in your stars or are you simply in need of a funding LIFT[S]?

Spring Budgets in the UK are not necessarily bookmark events in the calendar of Life Sciences lawyers. However, with a frost still on the ground, roll-on Spring 2024 and, potentially in his last budget, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer (Jeremy Hunt) [a.k.a the government's very own ‘fortune-teller’] told us of potential good news for those Life Sciences companies who are affiliated with PISCES and/or in need of [a] LIFTS.

Private Intermittent Securities and Capital Exchange System (PISCES), has been a concept that has been in discussion for a while but we now have a consultation paper to sink our teeth  into: Consultation___Private_Intermittent_Securities_and_Capital_Exchange_System.pdf ( In short, if implemented, PISCES will enable shareholders of fast-growing companies the ability to trade their unlisted shares in certain windows of the calendar year.  There will be certain disclosure requirements but, essentially, by utilising PISCES, it is hoped companies will be more in focus in the investor spot-light supporting scaling-up and growth, whilst also providing liquidity (particularly to founder shareholders). It is hoped the proposal will also support the pipeline for future IPOs in the UK, by improving the interface between private companies and UK public markets. PISCES will not be exclusively for companies in the Life Sciences sector but given the often fast-growth, founder-led businesses that evolve from the fertile university campuses and SME clusters up and down the UK, along with the tech-sector, one can imagine it will be another consideration in the funding eco-system of the UK Life Sciences sector.

Long-term Investment for Technology and Science (LIFTS) was, perhaps, less visible on the radar but equally a very-much welcomed initiative. In the Budget, it was confirmed that ICG has been awarded £100 million by the British Business Bank to invest into the UK’s most innovative life sciences companies, which will also be matched with £100 million by Phoenix Group.  Press Release - March 6, 2024 - British Business Bank (  As Louis Taylor, CEO of the British Business Bank was quoted in saying: “LIFTS is a potentially game-changing initiative. With the intention of catalysing more than £1bn of funding, including from UK pension funds, LIFTS will support the growth and ambitions of the UK’s most innovative science and technology companies, which with the right finance and support can become the world-beating businesses of tomorrow.”          

"The government believes that PISCES will form an important part of the UK’s offer to companies seeking to grow and list in the UK."


funding, budget, united kingdom, corporate