The University of Queensland’s world-leading research is well positioned to benefit from a landmark deal with IP Group plc which will see A$200 million available for investment in technology from top universities in Australia and New Zealand.

IP Group plc, an international leader in building companies based on scientific innovation developed in research universities, today launched the 20-year agreement.

It will invest in spin-out companies founded on disruptive innovation from research outcomes of Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8) universities – including UQ – and the University of Auckland.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President and Go8 Chair Professor Peter Høj said IP Group plc had a proven business model, and similar agreements with UK and US universities had a strong track record of success, with its portfolio comprising holdings in approximately 100 early-stage to mature businesses.

“This agreement is a significant endorsement of the strength and quality of the world-leading research of Australian and New Zealand research-intensive universities,” he said.

“UQ’s academic research and our track record in commercialisation helped attract IP Group plc to pursue investment in companies to be founded on our discoveries.

“UQ is recognised as one of Australia’s leading research universities.

“Our commercialisation company, UniQuest – instrumental in negotiating this agreement on behalf of UQ – has created more than 80 companies which have raised more than A$600 million in capital.”

Examples include:

  • Spinifex Pharmaceuticals – a company founded by UniQuest to develop a new treatment for pain, recently acquired by Novartis for a potential A$1 billion
  • ResApp Health Ltd – developing simple and inexpensive smartphone technology that can accurately and quickly identify respiratory diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, croup and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Vaxxas – a company pioneering a next-generation needle-free vaccine delivery platform, Nanopatch, that enables robust immune system activation and aims to safely and cost-effectively amplify vaccine efficacy.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the investment would provide pre-seed and seed funding to develop innovative discoveries into viable commercial opportunities.

“While initiatives such as the National Science and Innovation Agenda and the Biomedical Translation Fund provide access to translational funding for our innovations, there is still a need for funding for earlier stage opportunities to help companies and technologies cross the ‘valley of death’,” he said.

“This agreement will provide opportunities for access to earlier investment to fill this important gap, and ensure more world-changing research innovations have the chance to become a commercial reality.

“Australia is punching above its weight in research outcomes and IP Group’s decision to invest in us is a ringing endorsement of the innovation of our world-class scientists.”

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