Impact Investing, Australian Companies in the Spotlight (CaptixBio)
The trend of ‘Impact Investing’ has been on the rise over the last few years and it’s easy to see why. By using capital for good, savvy investors are looking to create real positive change and witness lasting impression that are fueled by their investment. Whether it’s funding environmental or social causes or even medical breakthroughs, the idea is to create an ongoing impact coupled with a financial return.
Offering a unique way for backers to provide capital for causes they believe in, impact investing is currently attracting a wide variety of interest from both individual and institutional investors aiming to address the world’s most pressing challenges.
In a health technology market such as Australia’s, where multi-billion corporate giants such as ResMed and Cochlear dominate the investment conversation, it is easy to forget that they too were founded by clinicians and scientists seeking to make the world a better place. Early investors in these “for purpose, for profit” companies were truly “impact” investors, those seeking to do good things, providing patient capital to support research and development, but also expecting a return in the end.
Whether it truly impacts investing, where the definition still seems to be a little grey or investing with impact, investing in “for purpose” companies and technologies with the intent to change the world is on an upward trajectory. As of mid-last year, it is estimated impact investments made up $715B USD* across the globe, further highlighting the increasing amount of success stories coming out of this space.
One company aiming to create an impact in the biotech space is Captix Biomedical (Captixbio), an Australian biotech start-up on a mission to develop a unique treatment system to cure Type 1 diabetes (T1D). To do this, the company is developing a cross-disciplinary, implantable solution to enable long-term, life-enhancing outcomes from cell therapies, thereby removing the daily burden of insulin administration and the fear of maintaining glucose control.
Captixbio is unashamedly a “for purpose, for profit” company. Founded in 2018 by Dr Michael McAuliffe, frustrated by the lack of options available for his own daughter when she was diagnosed with T1D, he has led the organisation as Founder and Chairman and actively encouraged the strategy of identifying and integrating the best science in Australia to deliver a novel solution to this intractable disease.
At the forefront of this project is Captixbio’s IMITA technology, which leverages an innovative combination of a medical device with a unique, immuno-protective, polymer membrane and cell and tissue technologies to deliver a functioning, protected cells into the body. The technology aims to deliver glucose control using donor islets or islet-like cells transported via an immuno-protective delivery device – a “bio-artificial” pancreas – called IMITA. IMITA is designed to sit within the protected, and highly vascular cavity, within the femur, ensuring longevity and functionality.
The company has collaborated with some of the most prolific scientific organisations in Australia to create the new piece of tech, including the CSIRO, St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, The University of Sydney and Queensland University of Technology.
Captixbio Founder and CEO, Helen Wray, says huge ground has been made since the company’s inception nearly three years ago, stating that there is still plenty more to come.
“We’ve had continued success since the company’s inception in 2018, receiving various amounts of funding from private investors and other sources, often with a link to T1D, as well as grant support and unquantifiable in-kind support from our amazing research partners. We have continued to progress our research on multiple fronts, and we would not be in the position that we are in today without our project collaborators – being able to work alongside some of the brightest minds in the country in an effort to achieve a cure for Type 1 diabetes isn’t something we take for granted and we look forward to sharing more project updates as they come to hand throughout the year.”
Throughout the rest of 2021, Captixbio is looking to optimise the manufacture and assembly of the IMITA® implant and its components and also progress its pre-clinical study program.
* June 11, 2020, the GIIN published the 2020 ANNUAL IMPACT INVESTOR SURVEY, which includes an updated market sizing analysis, which estimates the current market size at USD 715 billion.