AUSiMED is a Melbourne-based Item 1 deductible gift recipient (DGR1) not-for-profit Foundation that encourages and financially supports collaborations between medical researchers throughout Israel and Australia. (Find out more about AUSiMED here).
AUSiMED was formed after a visit to Israel by a group of passionate Australian scientists and philanthropists in March 2012, to review the potential for medical research collaborations between the two countries.
As a result, these two leading research nations are combining their talents and collaborating on research that has the potential to make a significant difference to world health and welfare.
Melbourne University and Rabin Medical Centre in Tel Aviv
Blood test for detecting re-growth of glioma brain tumours after surgical removal
Adelaide University and Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva
Development of a novel therapy for treatment of heart disease
Peter McCallum Cancer Research Centre, Melbourne and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Reducing prostate cancer recurrence by improving effectiveness of known chemotherapies
AUSiMED has secured a tax-ruling that approves an innovative way for Public and Private Ancillary Funds (PAFs) to financially support medical research and later share in any commercial success.
To leverage the impact of this unique funding model, AUSiMED has established a new Venture Philanthropy Fund (VPF), which over two years will provide more than $1M to support a portfolio of medical research projects with the potential for commercial success.
The VPF contains three international collaborative medical research projects, all product based and seeking to advance solutions for a diverse range of medical conditions. The projects have varied levels of risk and potential impact, providing a balanced fund overall.
“What’s exciting about the VPF is that PAFs can use their corpus to acquire a high risk, high return asset.
The best-case scenario is that the PAF shares in the upside of successful commercialisation, allowing for later re-investment of its returned capital and interest.
In the worst-case scenario, the loan can be terminated after two years and still have the benefit of receiving a minimum 14% investment return.
So it’s a win-win situation that will see more social capital available and will help promote the translation and commercialisation of our world-class research”
– Antony Cohen, Chairman - AUSiMED
This is the first time that PAFs can invest in medical research, as well as gain financial benefit whether the research succeeds or not.
Australia leads the world with its medical research discoveries but often fails to convert this research into successful commercial products.
It is critically important that we find better ways to support the commercialisation of life-changing medical solutions from Australian researchers.
Having Australian medical researchers work with their Israeli counterparts, has the potential, for the first time, to produce world-leading clinical outcomes plus access to funding in Israel for early stage pre-clinical work that would be hard to source in Australia.
Participation in AUSiMED’s Venture Philanthropy Fund provides a unique opportunity to advance medical research with the support of Israeli commercialisation funding and experience.
Even where commercialisation is not achieved, research undertaken will contribute to significant medical advances.
Many PAFs are seeking sophisticated ways to achieve social impact with their funds, utilising both capital and interest. These opportunities can be hard to find, and often have a risk profile that is unacceptable to PAFs.
AUSiMED’s new tax ruling is an exciting way for PAFs to engage in venture philanthropy, and be at the forefront of a rapidly developing approach to social impact with commercial returns.
The leveraging nature of this funding model is unique and impactful – having the potential to both increase the value of a PAF’s corpus, and the funds available for gifting. Whether the research projects succeed or not, the value of the PAF's corpus grows over the life of the arrangement.
Additionally, where a research project is successful and is engaged by a start up company, there may also be an opportunity to convert the loan into shares in the start-up, to enable participation in the financial benefits of successful research commercialisation.
With a number of possible research outcomes, PAFs may be afforded the opportunity to re-invest their funds.
AUSiMED has established a Scientific Review Committee of highly regarded experts, to select its research projects. The Committee’s decisions consider a range of criteria including the credentials of researchers, likelihood of success of the research, and the potential global impacts the research could have in medicine.
Mrs Roz Kaldor-Aroni: AUSiMED CEO, scientist, lawyer and MBA
Professor Ross Coppel: Senior Deputy Dean and Director of Research of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University
Professor John A Eisman AO: Director of Medicine (conjoint) at University of New South Wales and Senior Principal Research Fellow at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Dr Elizabeth Finkel: PhD in Biochemistry, award winning science journalist and Editor in Chief of “Cosmos Magazine - The Science of Everything”
Professor David Sonnabend: Professor of Orthopaedic and Traumatic Surgery at the University of Sydney
Professor Les White AM: Chief Paediatrician of New South Wales and formerly a paediatric oncologist.
Dr Elane Zelcer: Medical Commercialisation Advisor and former Executive Director of Monash’s Innovation Precinct
AUSiMED’s new tax ruling enables PAFs to financially support the Venture Philanthropy Fund in the form of a ‘loan’, providing attractive financial returns to the PAF if the research doesn’t succeed, and potentially greater financial returns if the research is commercially successful. (You can read more about the ruling here).
Where a research project is commercialised, the loan principal and interest is repaid to the PAF. If the research is not commercialised, the loan for that project is terminated and instead of being a loss to the corpus, the result is a leveraged or enhanced grant that can have the benefit of returning a minimum 14% interest return to the corpus.