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University joins Australia’s largest life science venture fund

Thursday, 28 July 2016 5:34pm

MRCFund-image

The University has signed up to become a member of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund, Australia’s largest life science venture fund.

The fund was established in 2007 to provide dedicated investment funding and expertise to support the development of very early stage research innovations.

Member institutes identify opportunities within their institute and take them to the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund’s (MRCF’s) Investment Review committee.

The ideas must represent world-class science and significant breakthroughs in their field. Other key considerations include the potential market size and need, the competition, and the strength of the intellectual property.

Early-stage opportunities can receive up to $3 million (AUD) to support preclinical development. Ideas which successfully make it through that stage can receive a further $17 million (AUD) in investment support.

"Without doubt some of Otago’s research will excite the MRCF."

Dr Gavin Clark, Director of the University’s Research and Enterprise Office, says joining the MRCF opens up exciting opportunities to develop important biomedical discoveries at the University into technologies that can improve people’s health and wellbeing.

“Successfully translating fundamental research findings into successful commercial applications is very challenging and is sometimes referred to as ‘bridging the valley of death’. Becoming a MRCF member puts us on a much sounder footing for crossing that valley,” Dr Clark says.

Pete Hodgson, Chief Executive of the University’s commercialisation arm Otago Innovation, says that “without doubt some of Otago’s research will excite the MRCF”.

“We look forward to a productive relationship in the years ahead.”

The MRCF expanded into New Zealand, with support from the New Zealand Government, in February 2016. The Malaghan Institute and Callaghan Innovation have also signed up to the fund.