New Bioscience Innovation Fund To Boost Australian Healthcare Startups

Published: Oct 04, 2016

Melbourne, Australia - Australia’s innovative healthcare and biomedical research sectors are set for a massive boost with the launch of a new venture capital fund.

“This is a breakthrough moment for many earlier stage, unlisted companies,” said BioScience Managers’ managing director Jeremy Curnock Cook.

“Access to funding is vital in turning ideas into life-saving products and I am confident we will see effective new healthcare products reach the market as a direct result of this new source of capital.”

Mr Curnock Cook said small healthcare and biomedical companies were particularly suitable for venture capital investment because of the size of the opportunity and the high potential returns.

“You need high returns to match the higher risk but with judicious selection, there is no reason why investors should not do very well out of this sort of investment,’’ he said.

The A$50M BioScience Managers Ventures I Fund is the first of a planned series of funds, designed for Significant Investor Visa (SIV) applicants and will be offered as a venture capital opportunity exclusively to clients of leading fund manager BT Investment Management (ASX: BTT).

BTIM Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Emilio Gonzalez, said: “We are pleased to be able to provide our SIV investors with access to such a high calibre healthcare investment specialist. The fund will provide our growing number of SIV clients with the opportunity to invest in innovative earlier-stage healthcare solutions, underpinning Australia’s ability to meet the increasing healthcare needs of an aging population. This provides a winning solution for both our investors and healthcare innovation in Australia.”


Chief Investment Officer with BioScience Managers, Matt McNamara, said the fund would adopt the same winning strategy that has produced annualised net returns above 20 per cent for several previous funds.

“Our approach is always to be hands on with management and to take a relatively large stake in a smaller number of investments to ensure we can contribute, to make a significant difference,” said Mr McNamara.

“The companies in this fund will be at an earlier stage than our other funds, so we will help them to meet the challenges of developing management teams, adding regulatory and clinical trial expertise and being introduced to capital and international networks.”

Senior independent adviser and the former CEO of national industry body AusBiotech, Dr Anna Lavelle, welcomed the launch of the Ventures 1 Fund.

"This new fund is a step change for earlier stage companies and sorely needed in Australia,’’ said Dr Lavelle.

“Together with later stage venture funding we now have a smooth continuum of capital access that will be of material benefit to many,’’ she said.


Mr McNamara said BioScience Managers would continue to comb through more than 200 investment opportunities each year, choosing only those that are high quality and have significant technological or market advantages.

“We are looking forward to the challenge of identifying the right opportunities for the fund and I am confident that Australia’s impressive record in research and commercialisation will shine through.”

“We simply don’t believe there is an alternative to thoroughly checking potential investee companies to ensure they have the right ingredients to become highly successful,’’ said Mr McNamara.

“Once they are identified, we remain closely involved in helping to commercialise these innovative discoveries,’’ said Mr McNamara.

In a separate move, BioScience Managers announced that it has applied to participate as a fund manager for the Federal Government’s $250 million Biomedical Translational Fund (BTF).

Successful BTF fund management applicants will need to privately raise funds that at least match the Federal Government’s initial $250 million investment. The BTF aims to expand Australia’s innovative biomedical and healthcare sector by investing up to $500 million in companies undertaking significant clinical trials and commercialisation activities.

“It is very important for the commercialisation of Australia’s exceptional research to have an end to end solution for providing capital,’’ said Mr Curnock Cook.

“I strongly believe that the combination of initiatives such as the Significant Investor Visa scheme and the BTF is going to greatly improve access to capital and will help to drive Australian innovation to new heights and will add certainty to the commercialisation of Australian technology which will benefit investors and the country as a whole,’’ he said.

Victoria’s Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, the Hon Philip Dalidakis, also welcomed the fund.

“Victoria is already home to over 40 per cent of Australia’s ASX Life sciences companies, with a startup sector that is growing faster than anywhere else in the country.’’

“It's fantastic that major investors are recognising Victoria's reputation and funding early stage business ideas here in this dominant sector. This is great news for Victorian entrepreneurs and for Victorian jobs,” he said.

About BioScience Managers:

BioScience Managers is a leading healthcare investment specialist founded in 2003, with the assistance of VicStart. It invests in a portfolio of biomedical companies which have clear technological and market advantages in which it can influence success and is confident of managing an exit. Past funds have averaged a net annual internal rate of return above 20 per cent. Jeremy Curnock Cook is an industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience in healthcare investing

About SIV:

Significant Investor Visas (SIV) allow applicants access to a permanent Australian visa if they invest a minimum of $5 million into complying significant investments for a minimum of four years and fulfil a range of other requirements.

About BT Investment Management:

One of the largest ASX-listed pure investment managers with a market capitalisation of around $2.7 billion and funds under management of $79.7 billion. BT Investment Management has been managing funds for more than 45 years and combines a strong institutional platform and an investment-led culture to achieve strong risk-adjusted returns for investors using a ‘multi-boutique’ approach.

Back to news