[ASC-media] Innovation Fund a small step in the right direction

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Wed Mar 18 08:03:26 CET 2009

Issued by the Biomelbourne network


Innovation Fund a small step in the right direction



Wednesday 18 March, 2009.   Melbourne.     


The BioMelbourne Network welcomes the $83 million Innovation Investment
Follow-on Fund (IIFF) announced today.  We hope this is only the first
step, as $83 million shared with the wider innovation sector will not
deliver the necessary funds that the biotech sector desperately needs
and which it lost with the close of the Commercial Ready program last


The depletion of the biotech sector means that Australia is at risk of
loosing the return on medical research effort and investment in
institutions and universities which need the biotech industry to take
discoveries forward to turn them into products that will save lives and
jobs.  The biotech industry is the delivery arm of the medical and
agricultural research community.


"An $83 million carrot is an appealing incentive for the ailing biotech
sector, particularly in Victoria, but biotechs will be competing for
funds with ICT and clean tech companies who are traditionally more
attractive prospects for a venture capital funding model," said Michelle
Gallaher, CEO of the BioMelbourne Network. 


"I'm concerned that the valuable Victorian biotech sector may not see
much of this money and if so, it's likely to only be a few companies
that are already of interest to the venture capital community."


The fund, open to early stage start up innovation companies including,
ICT, clean tech and biotechnology, and admistered by venture capital
fund managers, will be likely to favour companies who have a clear
pathway to delivering a return within less than 5 years.  The short
delivery time ensures that the fund will be infused with the returns of
initial investments with a view to creating sustainability.


The short delivery time is reasonable and expected in ICT start ups, but
biotech companies rarely deliver a return within a five year timeframe.


"The reality is that only a few biotechs will be the likely to capture
the interest of Innovation Invest Follow on Fund."


"I hope the investment criteria of the fund acknowledges and addresses
the very different profile that biotechs present when pitching for
funding from VC's, to that of other innovation-driven companies."


Michelle Gallaher, Chief executive Officer, BioMelbourne Network,
Mobile: 0417 784 856

Full release and background at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/blog 



 Niall Byrne
Science in Public

ph +61 (3) 9398 1416 or 0417 131 977
niall at scienceinpublic.com.au

Full contact details at www.scienceinpublic.com

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