The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), Australia and New Zealand’s largest life science investment collaboration, has been renamed Brandon BioCatalyst.
“The new name better captures the intent, energy and momentum of this truly unique collaboration, which is to leverage and coordinate Australia and New Zealand’s globally competitive biomedical capabilities to catalyse the next generation of biotech companies and create new treatments for patients,” says Dr Chris Nave, CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst, and Managing Partner of life science venture investor, Brandon Capital.
Brandon BioCatalyst brings together more than 50 leading medical research institutes and hospitals from Australia and NZ, major Australian superannuation funds, the Australian and New Zealand governments, as well as Australian state governments and territories, into a unique research and investment collaboration.
“The research organisations provide access to emerging medical discoveries and their in-house capabilities; the superannuation funds and government provide capital and operational grant support. Brandon Capital provides the hands-on expertise to guide translation and commercialisation of these technologies; with the collective aim of improving patient outcomes, creating new jobs and generating investment returns,” Dr Nave continues.
“When we were starting out in 2007, the MRCF was a working title,” Dr Nave says. “Like all start-ups, we were singularly focussed on getting the collaboration up and running, and not thinking too much about branding. For this reason, the MRCF name stuck and while it has served us well, everyone acknowledges that it is a bit of a mouthful and can be confused with other medical initiatives with similar acronyms.
Brandon Capital and the MRCF were founded by Chris Nave, Stephen Thompson and David Fisher in 2007 in Melbourne, with the goal of translating more of Australia’s most promising life science discoveries. From an original fund of $30m, funds under management have expanded to over $800m. Brandon Capital has offices across Australia, New Zealand as well as in London and San Francisco. To date, Brandon Capital and the MRCF have catalysed the formation, and provided investment capital, to over 50 life science companies.
“It’s been a remarkable, exciting journey of growth over the last 14 years,” Dr Nave says. “As we look to the future, we wanted to identify a new name which better captures the essence of the unique collaboration and network that has grown up to support the creation of promising new biotech companies out of discoveries from our research institutes. We feel Brandon BioCatalyst achieves this and we are excited to unveil it for the next chapter.”
“Brandon BioCatalyst is a nationally important collaboration, and nationally important innovation infrastructure, which exists to commercialise our most promising life science innovations, contributing to the country’s economy and improving our national health system,” says pioneer venture capitalist and Brandon BioCatalyst Chair, Bill Ferris.
“It was because of this mission that I joined as Chair in 2020. The MRCF, now Brandon BioCatalyst, was established to make capital available to commercialise the world-class research occurring in Australia and New Zealand, and to leverage the considerable biomedical capability that exists in our backyard.
“Through Brandon BioCatalyst, we now have enough capital to invest $20 – $30m into companies carrying out phase one and two clinical trials. This was simply not possible five years ago. It signifies a real step change across our maturing biotech sector, with more institutional investors, showing greater appetite for early-stage biotech investment.
“The next steppingstone for the industry is to access sufficient capital to support larger phase three clinical trials, which need upward of $50-100m per investment. Brandon BioCatalyst is on the path to achieving this and by doing so, in the long-term, we hope to create large Australian biotech success stories – the CSLs of the future.”
In an important milestone for the company, Investment Directors and longstanding Brandon Capital staff members, Melissa McBurnie and Chris Smith, have been promoted to Partners, expanding the senior leadership team and preparing the firm for the future. Melissa has also been appointed Head of Impact. “It’s wonderful to welcome Melissa and Chris as Partners,” Dr Nave says. “Their contribution over the years is especially valued and Stephen and I look forward to working with them in this new capacity.”
Notable exits by Brandon Capital include the sales of: Fibrotech Therapeutics (sold to Shire); Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, (sold to Novartis); Elastagen (sold to Allergan) and Longas Technologies (sold recently in a yet to be disclosed transaction).
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About Brandon BioCatalyst and Brandon Capital
Brandon Capital is a venture capital firm that manages Brandon BioCatalyst, Australia and New Zealand’s largest life science investment collaboration & fund. Brandon BioCatalyst is a unique collaboration between major Australian superannuation funds, the Australian and New Zealand governments, Australian state governments and more than 50 leading medical research institutes and research hospitals.
Brandon BioCatalyst supports the development and commercialisation of early-stage biomedical discoveries associated with member research organisations, providing both capital and expertise to guide the successful development of new therapies. Brandon BioCatalyst has supported more than 50 start-up companies to date, most of which were founded by Brandon BioCatalyst.
For more information about Brandon BioCatalyst visit: www.brandonbiocatalyst.com
For more information about Brandon Capital visit: www.brandoncapital.vc