8 June 2011, Australia: The Australian medical research sector is set to receive a major boost with the announcement today of the first closing of a new A$40 million venture fund, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund Innovation Investment Fund Limited Partnership.
The new fund is an investment partnership between the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), the Australian Government and two leading Australian superannuation funds, with the Government committing $20 million through its Innovation Investment Fund (IIF).
Sitting alongside the Australian Government as co-investors in the fund are StatewideSuper and Westscheme superannuation funds, each providing $10 million to match the Australian Government’s contribution. This continues StatewideSuper’s and Westscheme’s support of the MRCF, with both first committing capital to the collaboration in 2007.
The new fund is dedicated to supporting opportunities coming out of the MRCF’s 29-member medical research institutes and research hospitals, spanning Victoria, NSW, Western Australia and Queensland.
The MRCF is one of Australia’s most prominent early-stage investors in the life science sector. To date it has invested in 10 start-up companies, including Global Kinetics Corporation (GKC) and Osprey Medical, which are both about to undertake product launches. The MRCF is managed by Brandon Capital Partners, a fund manager specialising in innovative life science ventures.
Commenting on the establishment of the new fund Principal Executive of the MRCF, Dr Chris Nave, said “The establishment of this new fund and the Australian Government’s investment through its IIF supports the strong belief we both have in Australia’s world leading medical research sector. We welcome the Australian Government’s contribution and its support of the medical research community,” Dr Nave said.
The MRCF has a collaborative structure. Each partner commits its specific expertise to the process of securing funding for the most promising innovations within Australia's life science industry. The 29 member medical research institutes and research hospitals – which includes two State health departments – provide the fund's investors with the right to review their investment opportunities, while the investors provide a dedicated source of investment capital to develop those with the greatest promise.
MRCF Trustee Board Chairman, former Victorian Treasurer the Hon Alan Stockdale, said the new funding will help the MRCF invest in more projects, broadening the MRCF portfolio.
“The fact that we have been able to secure the Australian Governments Support in the current financial climate and three years after the establishment of the MRCF Collaboration strongly endorses the MRCF model. I expect it will place the fund squarely in the sights of other investors who will realise there is new and substantial on-going financial support for Australia's world-class medical research sector,“ Mr Stockdale said.
"The MRCF aims to bridge the gap in early-stage funding for high potential medical innovations, developing them to the point where they can be commercialised or be of interest to a commercial partner. In this way, the MRCF is a vital platform for the translation of Australia’s medical research into new commercial enterprises that can help create jobs, generate income and build further expertise," explained Dr Nave.
Dr Stephen Thompson, a partner at Brandon Capital Partners, said “the $40 million in the new MRCF IIF Limited Partnership Fund brings Brandon’s total funds under management to in excess of $100 million and creates an opportunity for us to develop greater momentum in the commercial life science sector in Australia.”
The new MRCF IIF fund will remain open for a further 12 months to allow additional investors to join the MRCF.
The MRCF collaboration is underpinned with support from the State governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland. The MRCF Board and Brandon Capital Partners thank these governments, the portfolio companies and member institutes for their continuing support.