The Adelaide China Biotech Investment Fund is backed by a group of private investors based in Nanjing, China, underwritten by the Bank of Nanjing. The group is led by Mr An LuFan, Executive Director of D&R Pharmaceuticals, one of China’s leading drug development companies.

The fund will support the commercialisation of health and biotech research from South Australia, enabling researchers from the University of South Australia, University of Adelaide, the State’s hospitals and other institutions to develop proof of concept, undertake clinical trials, and ultimately bring new drugs and additional technologies into healthcare.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment David Ridgway said the announcement is a great example of how private sector investment can help drive advancements in health research and in particular, the biomedical industry.

“The Marshall Liberal Government welcomes private sector investment, it is further proof of business confidence in our state and it will create more jobs and boost the economy,” Minister Ridgway said.

Establishment of the fund has been led by Dr Stephen Rodda, Executive Director Innovation and Commercial Partnerships, University of Adelaide, and Dr JC Tan, Commercial Manager, UniSA Ventures.

Dr Viraj Perera, CEO of UniSA Ventures, said the fund “would help advance a number of early-stage health technologies where funding is currently scarce”.

“It will help break down the barriers that many health innovations face in obtaining the money they need to move their projects to stages where they become attractive for further capital injection.

“The establishment of this fund is a notable milestone in strengthening our local investment landscape,” Dr Perera said.

Dr JC Tan, Commercial Manager of UniSA Ventures, said he looked forward to working alongside the University of Adelaide and the State’s leading medical institutions to share South Australia’s innovations with the world.

Mr An LuFan – the former President and Chief Operating Officer of China Biopharmaceutical Holdings Inc (CHBP), a NASDAQ-listed pharmaceutical company – has a strong track record in biotech development. His company D&R Pharmaceuticals has two research and development centres and three manufacturing facilities, and distributes its products to more than 1800 hospitals across China.

The $45 million Adelaide China Biotech Investment Fund will use $5 million to invest in early stage projects to achieve proof of concept. The remaining $40 million will be used to invest in projects that have demonstrated commercial potential.

The fund will have a focus on drug development and clinical diagnostics.