Successful spin out leads to new commercialisation acceleration fund


The next wave of biotechnology commercialisation stands to benefit from a new source of capital established by the University of Queensland's (UQ) Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and its commercialisation company IMBcom.

A new Proof of Concept Fund is the direct result of the University of Queensland successfully selling its interest in biotechnology spin out company Xenome.

According to UQ's Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield the multi-million dollar exit from Xenome was a first for the University.

"More importantly the research, creation and development of the spinout company and successful exit illustrates the substantial contributions university research makes to the economic health of the country," Professor Greenfield said.

"The entire 'Xenome experience' the pipeline from basic research to spin out to exit - is a perfect example of how the Smart State Program benefits Queensland through knowledge creation, development of new industries, improved health outcomes and job creation."

The new Proof of Concept Fund has $750,000, to be invested in the most promising and commercially viable research projects at IMB.

IMBcom CEO Dr Peter Isdale said the purpose of the fund was to enable the development of specific IMB intellectual property to proof of concept stage.

"In a unique agreement, IMB handed its proceeds from the exit to IMBcom to co-manage in the form of the Proof of Concept Fund," Dr Isdale said.

"We believe this is a text book model of the benefits of commercialising research. The basic scientific research was initially supported by UQ, it was then spun out through UniQuest and IMBcom, and finally the equity was realised to flow back to the parties involved.

"As a result UQ, IMB and the 22 researchers who helped develop the intellectual property all receive a financial reward.

"Additionally, the Proof of Concept Fund is reinvested in promising IMB research creating a 'Virtuous Cycle' of commercialisation.

"The 'Virtuous Cycle' of reinvesting in IMB research has been a major goal of IMBcom since its inception and we are confident it will become a self perpetuating process in which successful spin out companies indirectly generate funds to assist young, up and coming projects," he said.

With almost half of Xenome's work force coming from the IMB, Dr Isdale also said spin out companies like Xenome offered new career paths for entrepreneurial and commercially oriented scientists.

IMB Director, Professor John Mattick, said the Proof of Concept Fund was an ideal way to support the extension of IMB's research into practical applications and commercial pathways, building on our expertise and creating new opportunities for us and for Queensland.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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