AusBiotech: Cuts threaten business sustainability

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AusBiotech has released a new report that shows the life sciences industry will be more impacted than other sectors by cuts to the R&D Tax Incentive.

The association said the report - R&D Tax Incentive: Additionality and spillovers for the life sciences industry - highlights the disproportionately negative effects the biotechnology sector is now facing.

"The RDTI [R&D Tax Incentive] is the most critical policy available to life sciences companies and the vast majority of SMEs and companies in life sciences will be disadvantaged in their claims if the proposed changes go ahead," said the association.

"This in turn will impact on the capacity of the sector to deliver new treatments and technologies and patients may miss out on early access, if their country does not play a role in developing life science innovations, or conduct clinical trials."

AusBiotech said it was 'astonished' after the federal government disregarded the findings of a Senate inquiry, failed to consult, and used the last day of the parliamentary sitting year to table enabling legislation that will cut the value of the R&D Tax Incentive.

According to CEO Lorraine Chiroiu, “For the first time biotech has hard evidence that the benefits that the industry’s R&D environment brings is different, and this distinction needs to be acknowledged and mitigated before any proposed changes to the RDTI go ahead.

"The sector brings significant social and economic contributions to Australia, and the impacts of the proposed changes will be felt across the ecosystem – from bench, to business, to bedside.”

The report finds 61 per cent of respondents say that the proposed changes would not only affect their expenditure on R&D but would also threaten the sustainability of their businesses.

AusBiotech said, "R&D in the biotech sector is unique, both in its development challenges and in its output products. It is IP-based, heavily regulated and R&D-intensive and a highly globally-mobile industry. The biotech industry drives both economic growth and patient wellbeing, raising the quality of life for all Australians.

"Whereas engineering and mining R&D have the potential to increase productivity or stimulate demand for employment, life sciences research transcends these benefits. Whereas most industries capture benefits in increased activity and income, biotechnology also offers expanded public welfare outcomes."