Australian biotechnology packs a powerful punch

18th August 2016

Author: AusBiotech

Innovation in biotechnology is a foundation stone of the future, providing solutions to human and animal disease, climate change, fuel alternatives and food security, as well as improving our quality of life. Australia is a global hub for biotechnology researchers, companies, investors and partners, which is strengthened by innovation-focussed policies and a not-to-be missed event to draw the entire biotechnology ecosystem together.

The strength and benefit of Australian biotechnology

Biotechnology innovation in Australia has a proven track record, with a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer and a medical device enabling deaf patients to hear among the most-often-cited examples. In these cases and many more, the biotechnology industry and investors work together to develop products that deliver positive health outcomes to the Australian community.

Australia is a world-leading location for biotechnology, boasting the largest listed biotechnology sector as a proportion of GDP in the world. It has one of the largest and fastest-growing public markets for biotechnology and yields some of the greatest public revenues across the globe. AusBiotech’s 2016 Biotechnology Industry Position Survey of industry CEOs revealed that 70 per cent of respondents expect to hire more staff in 2016, and, being home to one of the largest groups of global graduate students, it is clear that Australia’s strength in biotechnology only promises to grow.

As Australia transitions from its post-mining boom, biotechnology’s contribution to the economy has been pivotal. Innovation in Australian biotech is currently ranked fourth in the world (Scientific American Worldview). Last year the Australian biotechnology industry attracted record deals flows of more than $2 billion and $1.1 billion of capital raising.

The benefits of Australia’s strength in biotechnology surpass the economic; it delivers pioneering treatments and life-changing inventions directly to Australians, as well as creating jobs in the life sciences on our shores.

Innovation-focussed policy

A refreshing focus on innovation in Australian public policy is creating an exciting environment for the Australian life sciences, and there has been no better time for international partners and investors to take part.

Innovation-focussed policy strengthens the Australian biotechnology industry’s competitive advantage over its international counterparts. The new Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF), which will be at least $500 million in size, will stimulate private sector investment in biomedical commercialisation and create additional opportunities for foreign investors to access Australia’s expertise and discoveries. Fund managers will be selected through a competitive process, bringing at least matching funding from the private sector for investment, and will help investors access greater value for their investment by leveraging the public contribution.

As a global leader in medical technologies, Australia’s diverse suite of investment opportunities in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals ranges from discovery research to product development and manufacturing. Good intellectual property protection, a transparent and effective regulatory system, and the Federal Government’s Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive all serve to attract and retain global investor attention.

International researchers are drawn to Australian shores through strong capabilities in clinical trials. The Garvan Institute, The Institute for Molecular BioScience and The Burnet Institute are among 50 world-class medical research organisations providing state-of-the-art facilities for clinical trials. Reduced trial start-up times, boosted patient recruitment, reliable quality and standardised costs encourages international companies to conduct their trials in Australia, boosting connections between the local and global life sciences industry.

Drawing the biotechnology ecosystem to Australia

Australia’s ability to attract prominent international conferences and key industry leaders signifies the country’s value to the life sciences globally. The International BioFest in October 2016, held by AusBiotech, will bring together three major conferences together in one week in one place as one integrated network.

The International BioFest 2016 will feature the 17th International Biotechnology Symposium, drawing researchers and academics from around the globe; AusBiotech 2016, Australia’s life sciences conference; and Australia Biotech Invest, Australia’s annual life sciences investment showcase. Together, these events demonstrate Australia’s potential to deliver rewarding synergies with local and foreign members of the biotechnology ecosystem.

It will include an impressive lineup of globally recognised experts in the life sciences, including distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble, crossing the Tasman to discuss peptide and peptidomimetic therapeutic agents; Professor Peter Seeberger, who is researching new vaccination approaches that offer protection against infection disease; and Professor Michael Nissen, exploring the renewed urgency to develop an effective vaccine strategy for the Ebola virus.

Leveraging areas of competitive strength, including R&D investment and effective public policy development, Australia has been consistently recognised for its position in the global life sciences. As a successful world-class industry, Australian biotechnology has a proven ability to attract international life sciences investment and deliver greater value for the investor’s dollar, creating an extraordinary hub for biotechnology partnerships, research and innovation.


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