Australian universities join forces for $50m investment fund

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The CSIRO has joined with the universities of Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and NSW to create a $50 million commercialisation fund called Uniseed.

Originally established in 2000 by AustralianSuper and the universities of Melbourne, Queensland and New South Wales, this is the third fund for Uniseed. A previous fund more than doubled the original $36 million investment after several of the startups were acquired or had their products licensed.

The CSIRO and four universities in the new fund account for 40% of Australia’s research spending, 45% of patents, and more than half of all “IP-dependent startups”, according to the Financial Review.

The previous funds have had extraordinary success with the universities’ medical startups.

Spinifex, the maker of a product for neuropathic pain relief originating from the University of Queensland, was recently acquired by Novartis for $270 million and potentially more than $680 million in future payments.

Fibrotech, a startup from the University of Melbourne that develops drugs to treat fibrosis, was purchased by Shire Pharmaceuticals for more than $100 million up front and potentially $600 million in future payments.

The new fund comes as there is a renewed emphasis on commercialising Australia’s research. The government recently launched a tool for entrepreneurs to search through patents filed by publicly funded organisations.

More policies are expected in today’s innovation statement.

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