Investments held by the Wellcome Trust rose in value by almost £1bn in 2012 to slightly more than £15.6bn, according to its latest annual report and accounts.
The accounts, published this week, show that the foundation experienced a £974m increase in the value of its investment assets in the year to the end of September 2012, up from £14.63m a year earlier. This was a growth of 6.2 per cent, compared to a growth in the value of charity investments generally of 11.4 per cent in the calendar year of 2012.
The accounts show that the trust spent £746.3m on charitable activities in the year, but the total funds on its balance sheet rose by £891.3m to £13.3bn. Unlike investment assets, this figure takes into account funds that the charity knows will be paid out over the course of the next year and includes £683.2m of grants that it has said it will make in 2012/13.
The trust has also announced the opening of Syncona, a new investment operation designed to support sustainable healthcare businesses. It will make investments of between £1m and £20m.
In his opening statement in the accounts, Sir William Castell, the chair of the trust, said that its investment return over the past 10 years had been 145 per cent, and that over the past 20 years its return was 411 per cent.
"Charitable cash payments in the year of £643m are twice the level at the turn of the century and are 35 per cent higher than in the year 2006/07, before the global financial crisis," he said. "Steady growth in each subsequent year has provided useful stability to UK medical research as other funding sources have come under pressure."