Adelaide-based Statewide Super has invested $25 million into a research fund which will be accessible by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.
The national fund, aimed specifically at commercialising health science, has been extended to SA for the first time.
Statewide acting chief executive Nicolle Rantanen said her company had to invest where it would achieve the best returns for members and could not discriminate in favour of SA. However, because most members were in SA, it was great if a competitive option such as the new medical fund benefited SA.
“It’s an added bonus,” she said. “It’s lovely that part of it can be in SA.”
The Brandon Capital Medical Research Commercialisation Fund has raised $200 million from Statewide, AustralianSuper, Hesta and Hostplus industry super funds.
SAHMRI executive director Steve Wesselingh welcomed the opportunity to be one of 50 institutions able to bid for a share of the fund.
“There was a gap in SA because we weren’t a member,” he said. “The other important part of it is that they have people on site.
“’So we now have a full-time person in our building, Melissa McBurnie, who is working with people in SAHMRI but also going around the whole state looking for projects.”
Decisions on where to invest are guided by a research committee with $50 million to go to very early stage biotech or medical device and the rest for more advanced projects.
Ms Rantanen said Statewide was proud to support SAHMRI.
“And some of the people working there are members of Statewide,” she said.
Statewide head of investments Con Michalakis said the super fund had contributed to the inaugural Brandon Capital fund and was pleased to be part of the third raising — the largest life sciences venture commitment in Australian history.
The first fund, of $11 million, and the second, of $40 million, are fully invested. Statewide had achieved good returns, Mr Michalakis said.
“They’re the best, they have a great track record,” he said.
Statewide expects it to be a long-term investment of seven to ten years. It recognises returns are not guaranteed but is optimistic of lucrative results.
Statewide also has investments in Adelaide Airport and Flinders Port.