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Australian biotechnology industry: Going global from down under

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Guest Author
May 5, 2021

Australia, as an island nation, and careful COVID-19 management has resulted in it being amongst the globe’s lesser COVID-19-impacted countries, and provides the opportunity to start, partner and continue clinical trials and medical research throughout and beyond the pandemic.

At the time of writing, I am fortunate to be able to share that Australia has continued to have days with no locally-acquired cases of COVID-19. This means that not only have Australians adapted to a ‘COVID-normal’ way of life, but have participated globally in domestic collaborations at a scale never before seen in life sciences.. The profile of our mature and thriving local industry has significantly increased, and its being recognised for its critical role in social and economic welfare by government, investors, and everyday citizens.

Australia is globally competitive, backed by leading talent, tremendous goodwill within our innovation ecosystem, and stable political support. Combining first-rate people with Australia’s robust regulation, which includes access to established and proven pathways of obtaining high quality clinical data recognised by US and European regulators and other global institutions, supportive IP protection, globally-recognised clinical trial capabilities, a powerhouse of strong science, and solid backing by investment and funding, makes us a country to keep your eye on.

Metrics and significant milestones for 2020 alone demonstrate Australia’s positive and resilient industry, and sets the stage for a growing and vibrant future. A record-high capital raising for Australian companies was achieved, increasing 157 per cent from the previous year. CSL, a global home-grown biotech company, stepped up to collaborate with and manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and also became the most valuable company on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), a watershed moment for an economy traditionally dominated by financial and mining companies. The Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) reached its target size of $20 billion, which stands to dramatically increase the public funding available for the industry. The biotech industry received confirmation of the continuation of the Federal Government’s Research & Development Tax Incentive, a significant support mechanism for the sustainability and future vibrancy of the industry, and a mechanism that offers substantial tax offsets and refunds for companies who are investing in R&D, including access by international companies under certain circumstances. Biotech has been long-recognised for its potential by Government, and the early and continuing support mechanisms that are in place are proving beneficial for the long-term.

As Australia’s peak industry body, AusBiotech has been backing and advocating for biotech for more than 35 years. Its Membership Directory is reflective and representative of its broader sector, which is comprised of more than 1,000 industry companies and 1,800 organisations. AusBiotech’s well-connected local and global network of over 3,000 members includes therapeutics, medical technology (devices and diagnostics), and agricultural biotechnology sectors; it spans biotechnology start-ups to mature multinationals, research institutes and universities, specialist service professionals, corporate, institutional, individual and student members. AusBiotech has a long and strong reputation as it provides representation and services to promote the global growth of the Australian life sciences industry.

Australia’s offers vibrant ideas and innovations and make for ideal partners. I encourage you to hop down to the Team Australia virtual pavilion to meet the Australian delegation, and to hear more about opportunities for collaborations, partnering and investing.


About the Author

Lorraine Chiroiu

Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO, AusBiotech

Lorraine leads AusBiotech as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director and has worked as a dedicated advocate for the biotechnology sector since joining AusBiotech over a decade ago. In her role she works closely with public policy impacting the life sciences sector at state and Federal levels, including economic development, tax incentives, patent protection, medical research and its commercialisation.



This piece was submitted as part of the Global Marketplace at BIO Digital 2021. The NEW Global Marketplace at BIO Digital is designed to be the destination to showcase any region’s biotech strength and elevate its leading companies via high-energy, fast-paced presentations, coupled with live face-to face networking. Learn more here.