2016 a momentous year for Australian biotechnology


The International BioFest 2016, AusBiotech’s 30th anniversary and our sector’s ranking among the global top five helped shape a momentous and action-packed year for the Australian biotechnology industry.

AusBiotech was proud to host the International BioFest, the largest-ever gathering in the Australian life sciences that attracted 2,000 delegates to Melbourne.

In July, we reflected on the last 30 years of Australian biotechnology and commemorated decades of success since AusBiotech was established as the Australian Biotechnology Association. Dr Anna Lavelle handed over leadership of AusBiotech after a stellar contribution to AusBiotech and the Australian biotechnology sector, with the then COO, Glenn Cross, taking the helm on 1 September. Lorraine Chiroiu assumed the role of Deputy CEO after almost eight years as National Communications Manager and more recently as Chief Industry Affairs Officer.

AusBiotech passionately advocated for its members throughout the year by attending meetings, consultations and crafting submissions. We focused our efforts on preserving the important R&D Tax Incentive, which came under threat in October with the release of the ‘Finkel, Ferris, Fraser’ Review.

In particular, AusBiotech strongly advocated against the Review’s proposed $2 million cap on the refundable component of the program and launched a postcard petition with Research Australia and BioMelbourne Network to save clinical trials and STEM jobs. Limiting or diverting the R&D Tax Incentive would damage our hard-won momentum in life sciences.

We connected and informed the industry, implementing the Australian Life Sciences and Innovation Directory and Directory of Known China Advisors, while completing the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Index. We are in the midst of developing a new AusBiotech website – watch this space for a fresh, new look in 2017.

As 2016 comes to a close, we are proud to reflect on the global standing of our industry and the dedication of our members. Innovation in Australian biotechnology is ranked among the global top five for the third consecutive year and boasts the largest listed biotechnology sector as a proportion of GDP in the world.

AusBiotech activities snapshot for 2016

  • Hosted 51 state events, including major conferences, investment and states-based events
  • Extended the investment series to Singapore and Hong Kong
  • Attracted 6,515 delegates to events around the country
  • Held the International BioFest 2016, drawing the global life sciences ecosystem to Melbourne
  • 1,198 partnering meetings at the International BioFest
  • Made more than 17 submissions to governments and attended more than 80 meetings with various government departments and Parliamentarians.
  • Attended 26 consultations meetings
  • 140 e-newsletters
  • 3 journals
  • Generated more than 120 media articles
  • Facilitated 1,198 partnering meetings, through business matching program
  • Managed Australia’s delegation to BIO in the US for the 10th consecutive year.

Policy developments

AusBiotech welcomed the continued support of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), and supported the TGA in laying the groundwork for regulatory reform, which will continue into the New Year.

The year began with Bill Ferris briefing the biotechnology sector on the $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund (BTF), and concluded with Brandon Capital Partners, OneVentures Management and BioScience Managers announced as fund managers in December.

Notable success stories

CEO Biotechnology Industry Position Survey

Look out for the annual CEO survey, which will commence early in 2017, to collect a snapshot of industry sentiment, industry metrics and topical public policy issues. The survey results will shape our advocacy work for the year ahead and AusBiotech urges its members to contribute to this important body of information.

The 2016 survey confirmed biotechnology’s central position to Australia’s post-mining boom economic transition and highlighted the importance of policy stability, particularly of the R&D Tax Incentive, as key to success in the biotechnology industry.

Office closure

The AusBiotech office will be closed over the holiday period from Thursday 22 December 2017 12:00 noon until Tuesday 3 January 2017. BiotechDispatch will resume on Tuesday 12 January 2017. We wish AusBiotech members a happy and safe festive period. We thank you for your support and look forward to working with you again in 2017.