Mike Daniell joins board of Australasia's largest life sciences fund

Mike Daniell will be the first New Zealander on the MCRF board

Former F&P Healthcare boss Mike Daniell says the fund offers opportunities for Kiwi startups.

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Former Fisher & Paykel Healthcare chief executive Mike Daniell has joined the board of Australasia’s largest life science venture capital fund.

The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund was set up in late 2007 in a collaboration between major Australian superannuation funds and leading medical research institutes and research hospitals.

Last year the New Zealand government paid $A500,000 to become a member, the same amount as Australian states, which paved the way for other New Zealand members to join and their research to be considered for investment by its latest fund.

The six Kiwi members are the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, the Institute for Innovation in Biotech at the University of Auckland, the Brain Health Research Centre at the University of Otago, the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, the Ferrier Research Institute at Victoria University, and Callaghan Innovation.

To date, the MCRF has supported over 30 start-ups, with each $A1 invested by the fund resulting in a further $A4.60 being invested by others into those companies. It has $A480 million in funds under management to date and a mandate to commercialise the most promising biomedical discoveries from both countries.

Mr Daniell is the first New Zealander to be appointed to the fund’s board.

He says he spent his whole working life in the medical device arena and commercialising research and development which is what the MCRF was set up to do.

Having a New Zealander on the board will be useful to bring a local perspective along with his international experience, Mr Daniell says.

“It gives an opportunity for those research institutes that are members and they have promising ideas that could be commercialised, it provides a way to get seed and venture capital,” he says.

MCRF is yet to make any New Zealand investments.

Following last year’s appointment of Duncan Mackintosh to lead the New Zealand operations, the board and executive of MCRF have been searching for a high-calibre director with strong links into the New Zealand biomedical and innovation sectors.

“With medical devices being an important investment class in the MRCF portfolio, Mike’s experience in this area will be invaluable in both assisting existing MRCF companies and identifying new opportunities,” the chief executive of the MCRF and managing director of Brandon Capital Partners which manages the fund, Dr Chris Nave says.

Mr Daniell stepped down as chief executive and managing director of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare in March last year after 37 years with the medical device company although he has remained on the board as non-executive director. He won the NZ Shareholders’ Association 2016 Beacon Award for guiding the company from a tiny startup with a handful of staff to a recognised world leader in the production of respiratory care and sleep apnoea devices.

Mr Daniell is also on the board of the University of Auckland Council, chairman of the MedTech Research Centre of Excellence, and a director of Tait Communications.

Through his role on the MedTech Centre of Excellence he has been exposed to a lot of translational research (where findings from basic science can enhance human health and well-being) and quite a few projects could result in viable businesses in future, he says. 


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