– Universities of Melbourne, New South Wales, Sydney and Queensland each commit $5 million to new Uniseed Follow-On Fund;
– Follow-On Fund to focus on lower risk, later stage investment rounds into investee companies.
Brisbane, Australia, March 7 2017: Uniseed, a venture fund operating at the Universities of Melbourne, New South Wales, Sydney, Queensland and the CSIRO, is pleased to announce the commitment of a $20 million allocation from existing university partners ($5 million each over next 10 years) to establish a Follow-On Fund. The new fund will be focussed on lower risk, later stage investment rounds in Uniseed investee companies.
The new funding will provide additional capital to supplement investment from Uniseed’s $50 million Commercialisation Fund (Fund-3); the potential for better returns through greater access to capital for investee companies; further strengthen Uniseed’s long term deal alignment; and improve the investment to fee ratio for its members.
Uniseed’s research partners collectively account for over $4 billion in annual research expenditure, representing 40% of all research expenditure at Australian research organisations. Uniseed not only has a first look right to technologies arising from Australia’s leading research organisations, but it also has a proven track record selecting and developing start-up companies that result in highly profitable exits recently including Fibrotech in 2014, and Spinifex and Hatchtech, both in 2015.
Discussing commitments by research partners for the Follow-On Fund, Dr Peter Devine, CEO of Uniseed said, “Currently, Uniseed takes early stage risk to facilitate commercialisation of member organisation intellectual property. With early investment moving technology out of the laboratory, across the “valley of death” to the traditional capital markets – our new Follow-On Fund will allow Uniseed to participate more fully in later stage investment rounds and take our investee companies further along their path to commercialisation. It is very pleasing to see continued support of the Uniseed model from our research partners with their additional funding commitment, while also continuing to invest in the strong IP pipeline they generate”.
Uniseed is a venture fund operating at the Universities of Melbourne, Queensland, New South Wales and Sydney, as well as the CSIRO. Uniseed’s mandate is to facilitate the commercialisation of research partner generated intellectual property by targeted investment in highly promising technologies. Uniseed’s investments cover a range of technology sectors. To date, the fund has exited four investments through trade sales; a drug to treat nerve pain (Spinifex Pharmaceuticals acquisition by Novartis for US$200M up-front plus milestone payments); a drug in development to treat fibrosis (Fibrotech Therapeutics sale to Shire plc for US$75M up-front plus milestone payments), an IT security technology (Vintela sale to Quest Software Inc. for US$75M) and a semi- conductor technology (Fultec sale to Bourns Semiconductor Inc) and one investment (Hatchtech) through an asset sale to Dr Reddy’s Laboratories in a deal worth $200M. A number of companies in Uniseed’s investment portfolio have products on the market (e.g. TenasiTech, BT Imaging and Smart Sparrow), while other companies are collaborating with leading global companies in their respective fields (e.g. Nexgen Plants and Q-Sera).
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