Australia’s largest life sciences investment fund administered by Brandon Capital Partners has launched a new $120 million fund.
The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) has launched its fifth fund, the MRCF5, taking total funds under management to more than $700 million.
Brandon Capital said it is now looking to approach institutional investors to explore the potential for a second close, raising up to another $250 million.
Brandon has managed a range of local life sciences companies, including Elastagen, which was acquired by Allergan, and Spinifex, which was acquired by Novartis in a deal worth up to US$700 million
In a statement, Brandon Capital said the new fund will focus on investing in early-stage medical research discoveries linked to MRCF members, a network of more than 50 medical research institutes and hospitals across Australia and New Zealand.
MRCF5 will replace MRCF3. It has backed 16 new start-up companies over the last four years and is now fully committed and reserved.
The $230 million MRCF Biomedical Translation Fund (MRCF4), supported by the federal government's Medical Research Future Fund, is still investing in later-stage biomedical companies that have progressed to clinical studies.
According to MRCF CEO and Brandon Capital managing director, Dr Chris Nave, “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.”
Incoming MRCF board chair, former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, said, “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 research into therapies that benefit public health globally.”
“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," said Dr Nave.
"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."