Updated on 25 April 2012
Dr John Ballard, a veteran leader of Australia's biotech, wins BioSpectrum Asia Pacific Bioscience Industry Life Time Achievement Award 2012
Veterans in the life sciences industry in Australia distinguish Dr John Ballard as one of the founding and most significant leaders of the country's biotechnology industry. He is co-founder and director of Adelaide-based BioAngels and has successfully played different roles in his career spanning four decades to help the biotechnology industry in Australia reach great heights.
He has taken particular interest in starting innovation centers and seed funding capital to support spin-out companies from universities and other public sector institutions, and was driven by the passion to help start-up companies thrive and grow from scratch.
Recognizing his contributions to Australia's biotechnology industry (see selection criteria), BioSpectrum awarded him the BioSpectrum Asia Pacific Bioscience Industry Life Time Achievement Award in 2012 at a ceremony held in Singapore on March 16, 2012.
Dr John Ballard started out as a researcher in the public sector in 1969 and went on to become an inventor of key technologies, co-founder of a successful biotechnology company and CEO of the Cooperative Research Center for Tissue Growth and Repair.
He set up a company GroPep and also mentored many start-up life sciences companies by co-founding them through an angel investment group. Dr Ballard also played a key role in setting up AusBiotech, Australia's lobby group for the biotech industry, and served on the board of the association for many years.
In 2002, Dr John Ballard, along with Mr Paul Flavel, co-founded BioAngels, an association of business executives and entrepreneurs from a wide range of backgrounds who were interested in investing time and capital in promising early-stage life sciences companies. "Together with Paul Flavel, we decided to form a group of investors that would invest in early-stage life sciences companies and work with the investees to add value to those companies," says Dr Ballard about the idea behind BioAngels.
|BioAngels is an association
of business executives and
entrepreneurs from a wide
range of backgrounds interested
in investing time (as mentors) as
well as capital in promising early-stage
life sciences companies
|Start-up Year: 2002|
In the last 10 years, BioAngels has established a strong network of individuals to evaluate potential investment opportunities in the life sciences industry of Australia. By creating this platform, Dr Ballard opened a window for entrepreneurs and inventors to seek investment opportunities from the individuals of the group. BioAngels' members currently have invested in 12 early-stage life sciences companies and are working with them to add value to their businesses. BioAngels' investments are targeted at promising early-stage life sciences companies, established by entrepreneurs or inventors who are seeking both capital and mentoring assistance.
The model structure of the company was based on some US angel groups that conduct due diligence on potential investees but each member of the angel group decides whether or not to personally invest in the project. "Paul and I decided that we would restrict investments to companies in the life sciences sector and that membership in the angel group would be focused on a person's current or past experience in that sector. Accordingly, we have a group of about 20 members with backgrounds in university and other public sector research, finance, legal, medical and veterinary practice, intellectual property, international marketing in the life sciences area and company development. With this mix of expertise, we considered that we would be able to make a good evaluation of a potential investment and also provide mentoring to the early-stage company," shares Dr Ballard.