Melbourne, Australia 9 December 2020: Leading Australian-based healthcare investment firm BioScience Managers Pty Ltd is thrilled and honoured to receive the Michael Hirshorn Award for 2020, as part of the Australian Investment Council Investing for Growth Awards 2020.
Instituted in 2012, and named in honour of the late Michael Hirshorn, co-founder and CEO of Cochlear, the Michael Hirshorn Award acknowledges a private capital investment firm that has made a significant and enduring contribution to the public good and the community. BioScience Managers is a joint winner of the 2020 Michael Hirshorn Award, with Quadrant Private Equity.
The Michael Hirshorn Award holds special prestige in the Australian med-tech community, as it commemorates one of the industry’s true pioneers. Michael Hirshorn, who died in 2011 at the age of 61, was integrally involved in two of Australia’s greatest technological and commercial success stories: he was a co-founder and CEO of hearing implant company Cochlear, and was also a founding director of sleep apnoea and respiratory conditions device company ResMed. In 2004, Mike was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, for his service to medical technology through the development of strategies for product commercialisation. After retiring from Cochlear, Mike went on to a successful career in venture capital in Australia.
The Michael Hirshorn Award recognises BioScience Managers’ investment in AVITA Medical, a regenerative medicine company that is commercialising the RECELL technology, initially developed by burns surgeon Professor Fiona Wood at Royal Perth Hospital to treat burns patients using their own healthy skin cells.
Yasser El-Ansary, Chief Executive of the Australian Investment Council, says the Michael Hirshorn Award honours a private equity or venture capital-backed company whose products or services have been instrumental in delivering direct positive community impact.
“BioScience Managers has been a patient and active investor in AVITA Medical and has been a major part of a biotechnology development that provides great health outcomes for patients that weren’t available before, in a broad range of skin conditions,” says El-Ansary. “Patients are getting much better outcomes as a result of this investment.”
Approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2018, the RECELL platform technology is initially aimed at burns, but also has wider applications in other skin-related diseases, for example chronic wound care and vitiligo, a disfiguring skin condition.
Amanda Gillon, Senior Partner at BioScience Managers says: “we appreciate the recognition by AIC, but the real honour should go to AVITA. By using RECELL, burns patients can in many cases avoid painful skin graft procedures as well as the hypertrophic scarring that many burn victims suffer. This is the achievement we are most proud of.”
Jeremy Curnock Cook, Managing Partner at BioScience Managers, who led BSM’s investment in, and continues as a Non-Executive Director of Avita, says, says: “We are “delighted and surprised to receive this second award from the AIC, especially this one that has such deep meaning for the Australian venture community. We also congratulate our joint award winner, Quadrant, for their achievement.”
“Mike Hirshorn was an innovator and change agent in Australia and I’m sure would be happy to see AVITA’s breakthrough treatments helping patients all around the world,” Jeremy Curnock Cook continued. “We see Mike as an inspiration for our efforts going forward, especially in the area of digital health, which I know Mike would have been very excited about.”
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