Head of UK vaccine taskforce grilled over government investment into her private equity firm

pharmafile | November 11, 2020 | News story | Research and Development COVID, UK COVID, coronavirus 

Kate Bingham, the Head of the British Government’s vaccine taskforce, is facing further questions over a conflict of interest as a fund run by her private equity firm SV Health Investors is set to receive £49 million in government funding. 

The Times reported that Bingham had, according to the government, “stepped away” as a managing partner at SV Health Investors when she became head of the taskforce in May, but Labour politicians want clarity on what this actually means. In July, SV Health Investors announced it had secured a $65 million investment into its SV7 Impact Medicine Fund from British Patient Capital (BPC) which is funded in its entirety by the UK Government. 

According to The Guardian, accounts filed with Companies House show the firm earned at least £1.9 million in management fees linked to its operation of the Impact Medicine Fund in 2019. The accounts suggest that Bingham receives an annual share of the firm’s profits, suggesting she could personally benefit from the performance of the fund. 

Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: “It is vital that the government immediately show how they have managed any real or perceived conflict of interest with this appointment. Especially when you consider how many nurses wages $65 million could have paid for. 

“We need answers quick. Otherwise this appears to be another in a string of government appointments and contracts handed to friends without due process.”

This follows recent news about Bingham that emerged this week. According to The Times, she showed a detailed list of vaccines the UK is closely monitoring to a webinar and network event for women in private equity. 

Conor Kavanagh

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