Rebrand for Australia's largest life sciences venture fund

Latest News

A new name for the largest life science investment fund in Australia in New Zealand with the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund rebranded 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,” said Dr Chris Nave, the CEO of Brandon BioCatalyst and managing partner of Brandon Capital.

Brandon Capital and the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) were founded in 20017 by Chris Nave, Stephen Thompson and David Fisher, with the goal of translating more of Australia’s most promising life science discoveries.

From an original fund of $30 million, funds under management have grown to $800 million. It has provided investment capital to over 50 life science companies.

Brandon BioCatalyst brings together more than 50 medical research institutes and hospitals from across Australia and New Zealand, major superannuation funds and governments across jurisdictions.

Some of its notable exits include the sales of Fibrotech Therapeutics to Shire, Spinifex Pharmaceuticals to Novartis, Elastagen to Allergan and Longas Technologies which was recently in a yet to be disclosed transaction.

“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,” said Dr Nave.

“When we were starting out in 2007, the MRCF was a working title,” he said.

“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."

“It’s been a remarkable, exciting journey of growth over the last 14 years,” continued Dr Nave.

“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 AC.

“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 stepping stone 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.”