Foreign investment targets SA biotech sector

An investment fund for the commercialisation of health and bio-technologies has been launched in South Australia.

The Adelaide China Biotech Investment Fund, launched on December 10, will use $45 million in funding to take research out of the labs at the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, and other research institutions and manufacture new drugs and technologies for healthcare.

The fund’s backers are private investors from China, based in the city of Nanjing. Leading their group is An LuFan, executive director of D&R Pharmaceuticals.

Stephen Rodda, executive director innovation and commercial partnerships at the University of Adelaide, underscored the importance of private sector funding for the development of new products.

“Funding from traditional Commonwealth sources will only advance research to a point, but not so far as to demonstrate the commercial potential of a new innovation. Access to such commercialisation funds is also limited in Australia.”

Rodda highlighted that the funding will enable the growth of a local health and biotech industry in SA.

“This new fund will enable our research to be taken to the next level, creating opportunities for the State’s health and biotech industry.”

While Australia is globally competitive for the quality of the research it produces in universities and research institutes, these findings often stumble at the commercialisation stage, where Australia performs poorly, compared to other OECD countries. This fund would overcome these issues, outlined Viraj Perera, CEO of UniSA Ventures.

“The establishment of this fund is a notable milestone in strengthening our local investment landscape.

“It will help break down the barriers that many health innovations face in obtaining the money they need to move their projects to stages where they become attractive for further capital injection.”

D&R Pharmaceuticals produces medicines and products at two research and development centres and three manufacturing facilities in China, which are then distributed to 1,800 hospitals in the country.

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