Posted: 2019-05-01 in Press Releases
May 1, Melbourne– The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), Australia’s largest life sciences investment fund, today launches its fifth fund, the MRCF5.
The MRCF5 has recently completed its first close, raising AU$210 million from the MRCF’s existing investors. This brings total of funds under management to more than AU$700m, making fund manager, Brandon Capital Partners, Australia’s largest venture capital firm based on capital managed.
Brandon Capital is now looking to approach select institutional investors to explore the potential for a second close, raising up to AU$250m.
The new fund will focus on investing in early stage medical research discoveries linked to MRCF members, a network of more than 50 leading medical research institutes and hospitals across Australia and New Zealand. MRCF5 will replace MRCF3 which has backed 16 new start-up companies over the last four years and is now fully committed and reserved. The $230m MRCF BTF (MRCF4), supported by the Australian government, is still actively investing in later-stage Australianbiomedical companies that have progressed to clinical studies.
MRCF CEO and Brandon Capital Managing Director, Dr Chris Nave says, “This is an exciting opportunity for us to continue to capitalise on the world-leading medical research capabilities in Australia and New Zealand, developing homegrown biomedical innovations into life-saving therapies and supporting the local innovation ecosystem. Our previous early-stage fund, MRCF3, has now built a portfolio of 16 exciting new companies, 8 of which have progressed their assets from the pre-clinical stage to human trials. The capital remaining in MRCF3 has been reserved to support the existing portfolio and therefore, it was time for us to raise our next early-stage fund, MRCF5”.
The continued strong flow of exciting early stage medical opportunities coming out of Australian and New Zealand research institutes provided our institutional investors with the confidence to support the new fund. The first investments for the MRCF5 have been identified.
“The MRCF will now have access to more than AUD$700 million in capital to support the development of Australasia’s most promising discoveries, meaning our medical technologies have access to significant funding that is required to develop and commercialise new medical therapies,” says The Hon Alan Stockdale, MRCF Board Chairman.
Incoming MRCF Board Chairman, Hon Peter Beattie says, “The MRCF collaboration is unique in that it is made up of a network of member institutes, which provide the medical innovations and technical development capabilities. We assist by providing the capital and expertise to help guide them through the development and commercialisation pathways. This often involves establishing a company and putting in place a management team, in addition to providing the funding well before clinical trials or commercialisation.
“Our research institutes boast some of the world’s best biomedical researchers, but historically there has been a lack of capital available for early-stage biotechnology companies and a limited amount of commercialisation expertise within the academic sector. The MRCF provides companies with vital capital through various stages of development, and works hand in hand with researchers and technology transfer groups to commercialise researchinto therapies that benefit public health globally.”
“Over the last 30 years, successive Australian governments have put in place forward-thinking policies to support the country’s innovation agenda. Today, biomedical manufacturing sector is one of significant to Australia ’s largest exporters of manufactured products, employing people in a high-tech, high value, manufacturing jobs,” says Dr Chris Nave.
“We commend former Labor and Liberal Government’s who’ve introduced forward-thinking, future-focused, policies such as the Pre-Seed Funds, Innovation Investment Funds and more recently Biomedical Translation Fund which, along with the R&D Tax Incentive, have catalysed Australia’s burgeoning life science economy. Now more than ever, Bipartisan political support for innovation, alongside strong policies and programs, are crucial not only for the continued success of the sector, but for future jobs and the country’s economy as well.”
The Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) – a $20 billion sovereign wealth fund – represents a new dawn for medical research in Australia. This pool of capital will fuel research in Australia for the next decade and lead to a strong flow of medical innovations which can be commercialised to support the country’s health, job creation and economic growth.
Since 2008, Brandon Capital managed funds have invested in more than 40 companies, many of which were founded by the MRCF. MRCF-backed medical devices companies Global Kinetics Corporation (GKC) and Osprey Medical have both brought products to market and are experiencing strong growth. GKC, spun out of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health, is now selling its novel Parkinson’s disease monitoring system in 17 countries, while Osprey Medical, spun out of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, is growing sales of its dye reduction system for use in coronary angiography procedures across the United States.
Other Brandon managed companies that have had positive exits include: Elastagen (sold to Allergan in 2018), Spinifex (sold to Novartis in 2015) and Fibrotech (sold to Shire in 2014). A dozen other companies, including, Aravax, Azura, Certa Therapeutics, EBR Systems, OncoRes Medical, PolyActiva, Que Oncology and Vaxxas currently have products in clinical development.