MELBOURNE, Australia and PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Brandon Capital Partners, one of Australia's leading life science venture capital firms, today announced the expansion of its operations into the United States with the opening of a San Francisco Bay Area office. The firm also announced that industry veteran and investor J. Leighton Read, MD, has joined as Venture Partner and head of the new Palo Alto office.
Brandon Capital Partners manages the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), a unique collaboration of more than 50 ofAustralia's leading medical research institutes and hospitals. To date, the MRCF has funded 24 start-up companies that are developing technologies originating from these institutions, including two that have achieved significant exits: Fibrotech Therapeutics, acquired by Shire in 2014, and Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, acquired by Novartis in 2015. In spring of 2015, Brandon Capital Partners announced the closing of the third MRCF fund, an AU$200 million fund, which will continue to support and develop start-up companies from the MRCF network.
"This latest fund enables Brandon Capital to continue to seed the best opportunities originating from the MRCF network, but more significantly, the larger size of this fund enables us to take the most promising of these opportunities through clinical proof of concept, positioning the companies for growth financing or exit," said Dr. Chris Nave, Managing Director of Brandon Capital Partners and Principal Executive of the MRCF. "A clear priority for our firm is to expand access for the MRCF network members, our Australian portfolio companies and entrepreneurs to the well-established life science ecosystem and talent pool in the San Francisco Bay Area and US. The opening of our Palo Alto office is an important step towards achieving this goal. We are delighted to have an industry executive and investor with Leighton's network and experience to lead Brandon Capital's office in the US, mentor our portfolio management teams and support the activities of MRCF research organizations."
Dr. Read is an accomplished biotech entrepreneur and venture investor with a distinguished track record of founding, building and investing in successful life science companies. Dr. Read was a co-founder of Affymax NV, with Dr. Alejandro Zaffaroni, where he served as Managing Director and President of the Pharma Division, and helped set the stage for the successful spin-out of Affymetrix and Maxygen. He was the founding investor, and, from 1992-1999, Chairman and CEO of Aviron, developer of FluMist®, the nasal spray influenza vaccine. Aviron was acquired by MedImmune in 2001. More recently, Dr. Read was a managing member at Alloy Ventures helping to raise two of their largest funds and investing in a range of life science and technology companies. He is continuing to support his current Alloy portfolio companies as a Venture Partner. Dr. Read received a BS from Rice University in Psychology and Biology, an MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and completed internal medicine training at Duke and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, where he held faculty appointments at the Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health.
Dr. Read added, "Chris Nave and I have worked together for a decade now and have discussed what is needed to unleash the extraordinary potential in medical innovation emerging from Australia's elite research institutions. I have followed the development of the remarkable MRCF network – essentially a country-wide incubator with dozens of projects and companies going through a highly disciplined approach to evaluation and mentoring. Together with my colleagues at Brandon Capital, I believe these well-vetted young companies will benefit greatly from the experience and insights of successful executives, advisors and investors here in the US. I am delighted to be leading Brandon Capital's new US office and hope to create an efficient portal providing ready access to the dynamic life science community here in the Bay Area."
About Brandon Capital Partners
One of Australia's leading life science venture capital firms, Brandon Capital Partners Pty Ltd invests in quality science with the promise of improved medical outcomes. With unparalleled access to academic and research institutions, Brandon Capital applies seed and venture funding along with industry and operational expertise to advance innovative life science companies from inception to successful exits. The seasoned Brandon Capital team partners with entrepreneurs to build businesses that create value for the innovators, their teams and Brandon Capital's investors. Brandon Capital currently manages three funds raised since 2008, totaling more than AU$300 million. Brandon Capital has Australian offices in Melbourne and Sydney and a US office in Palo Alto, California. For further information, please visit: www.brandoncapital.com.au.
About The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) Collaboration
Established and managed by Brandon Capital Partners, the MRCF Collaboration brings together more than 50 of Australia's leading medical research institutes and research hospitals, the Australian federal government and the state governments of Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. The MRCF's first two funds were supported by the pension funds, AustralianSuper and StatewideSuper, and the Australian Government through its Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program. Continuing on the same model, the newest AU$200M MRCF3 fund is supported by AustralianSuper, StatewideSuper, HESTA and HOSTPLUS industry pension funds and managed by Brandon Capital Partners. For further information, please visit:www.mrcf.com.au.