Medical Research Commercialisation Fund launches new venture

Friday, 03 May, 2019

Medical Research Commercialisation Fund launches new venture

The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), Australia’s largest life sciences investment fund, this week launched its fifth fund, MRCF5. The 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 — and recently completed its first close, raising $210m from the MRCF’s existing investors.

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 Australian biomedical companies that have progressed to clinical studies.

This brings the total of funds under management to more than $700m, making fund manager Brandon Capital Partners Australia’s largest venture capital firm based on capital managed.

“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 lifesaving therapies and supporting the local innovation ecosystem,” said MRCF CEO and Brandon Capital Managing Director Dr Chris Nave.

“Our previous early-stage fund, MRCF3, has now built a portfolio of 16 exciting new companies, eight of which have progressed their assets from the preclinical 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.”

According to Brandon Capital, the continued strong flow of early-stage medical opportunities coming out of Australian and New Zealand research institutes provided its institutional investors with the confidence to support the MRCF5. The first investments for the new fund have now been identified.

“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,” said incoming MRCF board chairman Peter Beattie. “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.”

Brandon Capital is now looking to approach select institutional investors to explore the potential for a second close, raising up to $250m.

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