Australia is a world leader in health and medical research but the challenge has always been getting the research out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. The bottleneck lies within the lengthy, yet critical commercialisation process: clinical trials, regulatory and marketing approvals that must take place can require hundreds of millions of dollars and can take up to a decade or more.

To remove the bottleneck the Turnbull Government is establishing a new $250 million fund—the Biomedical Translation Fund— which will be invested in promising biomedical innovation and commercialisation.

What is it?

The Biomedical Translation Fund:

  • Will draw on fund managers selected through a competitive process to bring at least matching funding from the private sector for investment
  • Is based on a recommendation of the Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research
  • Will receive its funding by reducing the capital contributions to the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) by $125 million in 2015-16 and 2016-17. The MRFF will still be fully capitalised in 2019-20 meaning that investment will be available for medical innovation almost immediately rather than once the MRFF is fully capitalised.

When is it happening?

The Biomedical Translation Fund will be established in 2016. Investments in biomedical businesses will commence once the new fund is established.

What to do

Patient investors needed for biomedical businesses to cross the ‘valley of death’

A gap between early and late stage research — often called the ‘valley of death’ — exists between biomedical research and when the medical product is ready for commercial deployment by doctors and hospitals.

The commercialisation process for medical research and innovation is lengthy, involving clinical trials, regulatory and marketing approvals that can require hundreds of millions of dollars and often take a decade or more.

Early stage innovative biomedical businesses have faced declining venture capital equity investment over the past three years.

With the exception of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund, there are very few early stage investors willing to wait the decade to realise a return. Patient venture capital investors have potential for significant return.

CSL Limited looks at over 100 opportunities each year. Of these, 5-10% are chosen for full evaluation and then only a handful are selected for licensing.

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Information courtesy http://www.innovation.gov.au/