Brandon Capital Partners expands into New Zealand with AU$200 million life science fund


Posted: 2016-07-26 in Press Releases

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Brandon Capital Partners expands into New Zealand with AU$200 million life science fund

Leading Australian life science venture firm announces appointment of Duncan Mackintosh to lead New Zealand operations

Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand - July 26, 2016Brandon Capital Partners, one of Australia’s leading life science venture capital firms, today announced the expansion of its operations into New Zealand.  The firm also announced that Duncan Mackintosh, a leader in technology commercialisation, has been appointed as Investment Manager and will lead New Zealand operations.

Brandon Capital Partners manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), a unique investment collaboration between major Australian superannuation funds and more than 50 of Australia’s leading medical research institutes and research hospitals.  The MRCF was established to provide dedicated investment funding and expertise to support the development of very early stage research innovations. Since 2007, the MRCF has supported the development of 27 start-up companies developing technologies originating from members, with some notable successes, such as Spinifex Pharmaceuticals which was acquired by Novartis for US$725 million in 2015, and Fibrotech Therapeutics, which was acquired by Shire for $557 million (USD) in 2014.

In February 2016 Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced that New Zealand had joined Australia’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), enabling New Zealand research organisations to become members of the fund and seek investment support for their emerging technologies from the third MRCF fund, an AU$200 million fund.

“Internationally, New Zealand ranks very highly in terms of its medical innovations and we are therefore excited to be expanding the MRCF to include New Zealand members.   At $200M, our latest fund has the capacity to support the best research opportunities from across New Zealand and Australasia, from discovery to clinical development and commercialisation,” said Dr. Chris Nave, Managing Director of Brandon Capital Partners and Principal Executive of the MRCF.  

“The expansion of MRCF’s membership network increases the opportunity for collaboration, capability sharing and knowledge aggregation.  With key international linkages, including our newly established US office in the San Francisco Bay Area, the MRCF is providing access to key resources which overcome some of the key factors impeding the successful commercialisation of research discoveries in Australia and New Zealand.  Building a presence in New Zealand is a key part of our goal to becoming a significant international life sciences fund.  We’re delighted to have secured someone with Duncan’s extensive industry networks and strong record of achievement in the life science sector, to lead our NZ activities.”

Duncan Mackintosh has specialised in the development and commercialisation of life sciences and technology for the past 15 years, with his most recent role as Chief Executive of WaikatoLink, the commercial arm of the University of Waikato. He has co-founded a number of companies including Ligar Polymers LP, PA Therapeutics LLC, Aldera Animal Health, and Novatein which was later incorporated into Aduro Biopolymers. He was also a Co-Founder and founding Investment Committee Member of KiwiNet, a research commercialisation consortium.  He holds a BVSc in Veterinary Science from Massey University and is a graduate of Lincoln University’s Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme. 

Mackintosh says, “We have a very vibrant bio sector here in New Zealand with some first class life sciences researchers and research, which we’re looking forward to supporting.  The MRCF funding helps promising technologies bridge the current market failure, the so called ‘Valley of Death’, enabling them to progress beyond grant funding to a point where they have achieved clinical or prototype proof of concept and/or market validation.”

Mackintosh says a priority is for New Zealand’s research organisations to sign up to gain access to the MRCF.  “Member Institutes can then identify opportunities within their institute and bring them forward to the Investment Review committee.”

Early-stage opportunities can receive up to $3 million (AUD) to support preclinical development, with those successfully progressing through this stage able to receive a further $17 million (AUD) in investment support.


About Brandon Capital Partners

One of Australia’s leading life science venture capital firms, Brandon Capital Partners Pty Ltd invests in leading life science innovations with the promise of improved treatment outcomes and commercial returns.  With unparalleled access to academic and research institutions, Brandon Capital applies seed and venture funding along with industry and operational expertise to advance innovative life science companies from inception to successful exits.  The seasoned Brandon Capital team partners with entrepreneurs to build businesses that create value for the innovators, their teams and Brandon Capital’s investors.  Brandon Capital currently manages three funds raised since 2008, totalling more than AU$300 million.  Brandon Capital has Australian offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and a US office in Palo Alto, California.  For further information, please visit:

About The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF)

Established in 2007 and managed by Brandon Capital Partners, the MRCF Collaboration brings together more than 50 of Australia’s leading medical research institutes and research hospitals, the Australian Government and the state governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. The MRCF Collaboration expanded into New Zealand with support from the New Zealand Government in February 2016. The MRCF’s first two funds were supported by the superannuation funds, AustralianSuper and StatewideSuper, and the Australian Government through its Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program. Continuing on the same model, with the addition of New Zealand into the Collaboration, the newest AU$200M MRCF3 fund is supported by AustralianSuper, StatewideSuper, HESTA and HOSTPLUS industry superannuation funds and managed by Brandon Capital Partners.  For more information visit: