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Aussies invest in Kiwi biotech fund

November 8, 2004

Aussies invest in Kiwi biotech fund

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said today his government was prepared to put up to A$6 million (NZ$6.58m) over the next five years into New Zealand-based biotech venture capital fund Life Science Ventures.

Premier Beattie made the announcement today (Nov. 8) during AusBiotech 2004, the Australian biotech industry conference in Brisbane.

Life Science Ventures (LSV) is a NZ$100 million fund investment programme focused on unlocking new value from New Zealand and Australia's considerable food and agriculture heritage.

It is a joint venture between Direct Capital, a New Zealand-owned and successful private equity and venture capital investor and the commercialisation arm of AgResearch.

The Queensland investment complements the $15 million commitment by the New Zealand government's Venture Investment Fund.

Mr Beattie says his government recognises the huge potential of agbio industries and the contribution to the New Zealand fund complements a range of commercialisation programmes already available in Queensland.

LSV executive director Howard Moore welcomes the investment saying it provides a major boost for the biotech industry in both territories and it endorses the strategy of Life Science Ventures to focus investments in companies in the agriculture and food sectors.

"The fund recognises the need to accelerate the development and commercialisation of biotechnology to strengthen our agricultural industries and keep ahead of international competition.

"Queensland plainly recognises the potential value existing in Australasian food and agriculture and the need to secure venture capital to successfully commercialise that knowledge," Mr Moore says.

"They call themselves the Smart State for good reason. Nearly a quarter of Australia's agbio companies are based in Queensland and there is a state biocapital fund totalling NZ$109 million."

New Zealand and Queensland already have associations through biotechnology and Mr Moore says both territories are making huge advances in a number of agriculture and food biotech areas.

"We share many similarities with Queensland," Mr Moore says. "Last year New Zealand and Queensland signed a biotechnology collaboration agreement and New Zealand is to join the Australia-New Zealand Biotechnology Alliance."

Mr Moore says the fund is targeting a close before Christmas.

ENDS

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