Alimetry is an exemplar of how focusing on diversity, innovation, quality control and regulatory requirements can help get a new medtech device to market within two years.
CaraMed is New Zealand’s first specialist deep healthtech venture capital fund.
“Our goal is to invest in the growth and acceleration of our healthtech companies, enabling them to deliver good investor returns, societal benefits and global health impact,” say the principals. Their strategy is to provide access to capital and other resources that healthtech ventures need to thrive.
The team make-up is unique for a venture capital firm, with most having scientific or clinical training, in addition to investing experience. Dr Scott McPhee has spent over 20 years working with leading university research groups and pharma companies across the US and globally to commercialise novel technologies. Dr Ken Chin provides expert clinical insight in assessing healthcare investments. Maxine Simmons has more than 30 years’ experience in start-up and expansion stage private company development in New Zealand. Caroline Quay is an experienced healthcare industry executive with over 15 years’ experience.
Together, their expertise spans gene therapy, molecular medicine, neuroscience, pharmacology, diagnostics, biochemistry, digital health, medical devices, biotechnology, surgery and the clinical practice of medicine.
“Not all scientists have the capability and connections to commercialise their work. We want to provide those people with funds and sector specific expertise to keep those great minds and great science in New Zealand,” says Chin.
CaraMed aims to raise NZ$50 million to support the growth and acceleration of innovative and globally competitive healthtech companies, covering medical devices, digital health, drug or biologic product development and diagnostics.
“Your average app might take a few months to create and get to market, but deep tech is more complex. Deep tech takes a bigger problem or need and uses science, R&D and engineering to solve it. If it’s a drug or medtech device, it may take a number of years to reach the market, particularly if it requires regulatory approval and clinical trials,” says Chin.
McPhee says the effect of COVID-19 is inescapable but has helped us coalesce the impact on healthcare and society and shine a light on societal need. “We have had a big cultural shift in where we work as a result of the pandemic; now we’re in the midst of the technology shift and it’s levelling the playing field. NZ founded companies can be successful in this space while still being based in NZ.”
Chin agrees, saying COVID-19 has highlighted under-investment in healthcare solutions, but also showed how we can accelerate time to market when we collaborate and act as a community.
McPhee and Chin say COVID-19 has shown there’s a real opportunity for New Zealand investors to support these ventures so they don’t have to go offshore to be successful.