CSL (CSL) chief executive Paul Perreault has welcomed the launch of the government’s new Biomedical Translation Fund for focusing the attention of the $2 trillion superannuation system on the commercialisation of medical technologies.
The fund, officially launched by Innovation and Science Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday, matches every dollar venture capital and super funds invest to a total of $500 million, in a bid to help fledgling biomedical firms “translate” research breakthroughs into commercial giants.
Speaking at a luncheon in Melbourne yesterday, Mr Perreault, who steers the world’s second-largest influenza vaccine manufacturer, said the fund was about investing in the next 100 years of the Australian medical industry.
“This is all important work and industry and science has to work together to make sure it all comes to fruition,” Mr Perreault said.
Mr Perreault said there was a large pool of investment in the Medical Research Future Fund, a $20bn Abbott government set up with distributions of about $1bn a year expected by 2022-23, but not enough of that capital would be translating research into commercial products.
“We are sitting here in Melbourne, Sydney and across Queensland on some really important medical discoveries. We have really smart people in Australia doing important work but it never seems to get out there past the lab,” Mr Perreault said.
“You need this boost to get it out of the lab and into communities. The investment and the super industry have to be pulled down and focused and that’s what the BTF does.”
The BTF committee will be chaired by Peter Willis, the chairman of the government’s 1998 health and medical research strategic review, and applications for fund managers are open until mid-September.
CSL has a workforce of 16,000 across 30 countries, but Mr Perrault, who spends about 200 days a year overseas, said Australia lacked the investment mindset to turn science into industry.
“In the US there’s money everywhere. You’ve got biotech start-ups and hedge funds and venture capital everywhere. A lot of Australian companies don’t have the scale and they need that push with some investment to help them reach that,” he said.
CSL, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year, has seen its share price rally 400 per cent over the last five years.
“If we only had stayed in Australia we would not be the company we are today,” he said.
Originally posted by The Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/biotech-fund-a-boost-for-research/news-story/0beef0b20b30b1f4d422e2918b092953?csp=52e1ba14f97b6e80f3c0562dc72a4c88&nk=a83c7624d214dfa50897e58fcfb91372-1470970402