Neil Woodford is in talks with the government to allocate capital to a initiative to back early-stage tech ventures outside London.

The British Business Bank is working with other institutional funds to launch the £250m investment company, which will be approximately 50 per cent backed by the taxpayer, The Times reports.

It will invest between £5m and £10m in fast-growing firms outside London.

The fund, which has been in the pipeline since before Brexit, is expected to launch before the year’s end.

Woodford would make allocations of capital from his existing portfolios.

A source told The Times the fund was being launched to direct funding towards companies that do not get noticed, “not because they feel sorry for companies outside London”.

Woodford has been a champion of science and technology in the past, describing the UK’s excellent university research in these areas as ripe for commercialisation.

The Woodford Patient Capital Trust, launched in April 2015, has had a difficult first year with assets falling 9.1 per cent over the last 12 months while its share price has dropped 18.2 per cent.