A new €85m life sciences venture capital fund, into which the State has invested more than €15m, has been launched.

It is hoped the new fund will help create dozens of jobs in Ireland by increasing the availability of funding for emerging companies in the life sciences sector.

The Fountain Healthcare Partners 2 is expected to make ten to 15 investments in speciality pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and diagnostics over the course of its lifetime.

The Department of Jobs, through Enterprise Ireland, has committed €15m to the fund.

The remainder comes from institutional investors, including the European Investment Fund and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund.

This is a statutory based fund whose mandate is to invest on a commercial basis in projects which support the economy and jobs.

Founding its first fund in 2008, Fountain claims to be Ireland's largest dedicated life science venture capital fund with more than €155m under its management.

The fund is the first to be announced as part of the Enterprise Ireland Seed and Venture Capital Scheme 2013-2018.

Under it, Enterprise Ireland aims to use a State commitment of €175m to attract funds from the private sector, creating a total of €700m for investment.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said a key part of the Action Plan for Jobs is to put new sources of credit for Irish businesses in place.

"Over the past three years we have established new finance schemes which are making available a total of well over €2 billion to Irish businesses," he added

"International evidence shows that the presence of a dynamic seed and venture industry is crucial to this. To support more innovative and internationally oriented start-ups that can go fast to market and scale, we must increase the availability of venture capital to facilitate company growth and job creation" he added.