Mercia Asset Management has lost its investment director and university lead Nicola Broughton to a new $171m fund targeting the medical cannabis industry.

Nicola Broughton has resigned as university lead and investment director of UK-based fund manager Mercia Asset Management to co-found medical cannabinoid-focused venture fund Ă“skare Capital as managing director.

Broughton and Mercia parted ways last month, ending a tenure which began in 2015 and also saw her become principal of Mercia Fund I.

Óskare Capital aims to raise €150m ($171m) to invest in the European medical cannabis space, spanning plant cultivation through to product processing and cannabis-focused digital technologies. It will be based in Ireland, Broughton and her co-founder Alexandre Ouimet-Storrs said.

Broughton told GUV’s sister publication, Global Corporate Venturing: “Universities and corporates will play a big role in what we are doing.”

Aside from supervising Óskare Capital, Broughton has also started her own consultancy – Nicola Broughton Consulting.

Broughton’s time at Mercia included non-executive board representation at three portfolio companies: advanced polymer material business MIP Diagnostics, university-industry collaboration matchmaking platform In-Part and University of Edinburgh’s dialysis technology spinout Invizius.

She was chairwoman of the board of trustees at daycare centre Menston Preschool from 2014 until 2016, having joined in 2013 after a two-year guest lecturer appointment at Warwick Business School.

Ouimet-Storrs was previously managing director for Europe at Solvay Ventures, the $100m evergreen corporate venturing unit of chemical company Solvay.

Ă“skare Capital made its inaugural investment in January 2020, participating in a round of undisclosed size for Octarine Bio, a Denmark-based developer of a an engineered yeast fermentation platform to produce cannabinoids. The round also featured Bruce Linton, former chief executive of cannabis producer Canopy Growth Cooperation.

– Image courtesy of LinkedIn. This article was updated on June 11, 2020 with additional information about Ă“skare Capital, including Broughton’s co-founder and its first investment.