The steadily growing NZIB, a partnership between Booster Financial Services and Wellington UniVentures (previously Viclink), the commercialisation office of Victoria University of Wellington, was launched a year ago to channel funding into innovations developed at the university. NZIB now has a $6 million portfolio of investments in the university’s world-leading research. A joint investment approach has both Wellington UniVentures and Booster hold equity in the various investments. At the outset Booster committed to make $10m available over five years and has invested $3 million so far.
“We think it’s essential for New Zealand’s prosperity to invest in our intellectual property, while giving everyday New Zealanders the opportunity to get involved through their KiwiSaver accounts,” says Booster Managing Director Allan Yeo.
The latest significant investment is to fund Rekover Therapeutics through to a clinical trial, the next critical step in commercialising a treatment that could have life-changing outcomes for sufferers of Multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological autoimmune disease affecting 2.5 million people worldwide.
MS causes lesions in the nervous system resulting from destruction of the myelin sheath, or nerve coverings, in the brain and spinal cord. In turn, this causes messages from the brain to be slowed or blocked, affecting movement and causing symptoms such as loss of vision, speech, memory, sensation and bodily functions. There is currently no cure for the disease and the cause is unknown.
While current pharmaceutical therapies slow the rate of accumulating disabilities, none reverse the disability. Pre-clinical research conducted at Victoria University of Wellington has produced data showing remyelination and reversal of paralysis of the disease.
Rekover Therapeutics has been established to take this research forward and Booster’s funding will help support preparations for the human clinical trial.