Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has invested $250 million in Tenmile, a new biotech venture capital firm, in an effort to hasten the creation of life-changing health technology.
The initial investment in Tenmile, which is being led by a former executive of biotech giant Roche Group, Steve Burnell, who has a long career in the technology and healthcare sectors and experience in mergers and acquisitions, has been announced by Tattarang, the private investment firm founded by Forrest and his wife Nicola.
The main objective of Tenmile is to make investments in services and products that, according to the company, will fulfill unmet medical requirements and promote fair and sustainable healthcare.
The company distinguishes itself from other Australian venture capital funds by concentrating exclusively on providing seed funding for health technologies and by using a business model that, in the words of Andrew Forrest, allows it to act fast and with confidence without being constrained by lenders and investors.
According to Forrest, their laser-focused approach means they can assist early-stage businesses, researchers, and entrepreneurs in accessing seed funding to assist them when they need it the most, and then provide follow-on support, which is frequently inaccessible through government or public sector funds.
Through their in-depth expertise, wide networks, and committed cash, Tenmile will assist Australian researchers and Australian firms to produce game-changing products and medical interventions in a way that the nation has never seen before.
Nicola Forrest, who is also the cofounder of Tattarang, emphasises Tenmile’s dedication to moral and environmentally friendly medical procedures and technologies. Tenmile is another demonstration of their dedication to utilising capital as a force for good and will implement Tattarang’s ethical investment policy, which includes supporting female-founded and -led health firms, she claims.
Tenmile, established in Perth, has offices in Sydney and San Francisco. In San Francisco, it has teamed up with Rock Health, a venture firm located in the US that specialises in investing in digital health.
According to Burnell, executive chairman of Tenmile, although their company is focused on opportunities in Australia and on establishing a more comprehensive health sciences commercialization ecosphere there, they will continue investing and partnering in global markets both for the returns and to aid their Australian investees in accessing markets and capital internationally.
For them, health technology spans a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, diagnostics, and healthcare services. Emerging potential in immunology, cancer, digital health, the microbiome, and microbial resistance particularly excites them.
The Adelaide-based pre-clinical immunotherapy business, Carina Biotech, which is researching and creating chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) medicines to treat cancer, is one of Tenmile’s investments.