AusBiotech in 2018: A year in review


This year AusBiotech has seen defence of the critical RDTI, a number of gene technology relative to agriculture submissions, a change in leadership, a new strategic plan developed and launched, and a diversity and inclusion commitment – not to mention new guidance and reports, an online platform unveiling, a plethora of events delivered across the country and internationally, and new Industry Excellence Award winners.

Defending the RDTI Senate Inquiry and other policy

A critical industry mission for AusBiotech is the preservation of the R&D Tax Incentive, which has remained the number one public policy issue within the industry for the year. AusBiotech continued its active representation of members’ interests and after a committed campaign, AusBiotech CEO Ms Lorraine Chiroiu gave evidence at the Senate Inquiry in November. The voice of industry was strong and united in its feedback at the Inquiry, highlighting that the measure such as the separation from the corporate tax rate and the intensity measure as proposed in the Bill had not been seen before Budget night in 2018. It also became clear during the Inquiry that the federal government has used ‘judgement’ rather than modelling to assess the impact of proposed changes to the RDTI programme. AusBiotech has welcomed the additional time that the Senate Committee is taking to consider its Inquiry, and is hopeful that the Bill will be rejected in its current form.

The objection to the Bill also speaks volumes to the work by industry across the country, advocating and collaborating to demonstrate the strength that has been built in the Australian life science sector and how important the RDTI is for this sector.

AusBiotech and the Ag and Food committee has been busy throughout the year responding to regulatory papers affecting the sector – in particular, helping Australia strengthen its global competitiveness by participating in the three-phase consultation process around the National Gene Technology Scheme. The framework aims to protect the health and safety of people and the environment by identifying and managing risks associated with gene technology.

Read all AusBiotech submissions here.

Strategic plan

AusBiotech has released its 2018-21 strategic plan, with a focus on member engagement, advocacy, ensuring a sustainable organisation, strengthening our relevance and reputation, and growing the sector. The strategic plan seeks to build on the firm foundations AusBiotech has built, evolving and adapting alongside industry’s needs to address the predicted opportunities and challenges and to help the industry realise its nationally important economic potential.

Committed to diversity and inclusion

In October 2018, AusBiotech launched a new diversity and inclusion statement. A set of principles on diversity and inclusion were developed as an important first step in leading efforts to attract the best and brightest talent from diverse backgrounds to biotech careers, and foster an inclusive industry culture. AusBiotech commits itself to, and encourages the industry to follow, these principles on diversity and inclusion.

New guidance, report launches and an online platform unveiling

This year’s annual Biotechnology Industry Position Survey revealed the strongest ever business sentiment across the sector. The report attracted significant awareness of our sector through positive media attention, with AusBiotech’s Lorraine Chiroiu and Grant Thornton’s Michael Cunningham being interviewed on SkyNews.

Building on the launch of The Roadmap to a Successful IPO for Life Sciences Companies, and its accompanying workshops, AusBiotech delivered new guidance: The Guide to Life Sciences Investing. The Guide was developed for investors with little or no experience in the sector and outlines the factors particular to life sciences companies that potential investors should consider. It builds on general investment guidance and aims to equip potential investors with knowledge of the basic operations and products of life sciences companies, including the terminology, timelines and regulatory frameworks in the sector, as well as how securities trade on the market. The Guide is one of the three main components of the MTPConnect-funded ‘Comprehensive Global Investment Program for the Australian Life Sciences Sector – companies, investors and researchers’ project.

AusBiotech launched an interactive online platform for China/Australia science-funding matching in October 2018. The BioExchange platform is the first major milestone of AusBiotech’s Australia-China Life Sciences Partnership Programme and aims to increase awareness, and thus, opportunities for communication, collaboration and commercialisation between the life sciences sector in Australia and China. BioExchange will become a powerful tool, connecting the best of Australia’s medtech, e-health, and life science projects to known Chinese fund and industry partners for optimal business matching. This will result in reduced risk and costs to Australian companies, and also provides companies a staged market-entry into China. BioExchange is supported by MTPConnect and consortium partners.

The significance and potential growth of the regenerative medicine sector within Australia was indicated with two launches at AusBiotech 2018. AusBiotech launched RMLink, a regenerative medicine directory, together with the Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine (FIRM). The directory lists all members in Japan and Australia who work within the sub-sector, enabling global access to talent, expertise, education and partnerships. RMLink is a member-only benefit and will be available on the respective websites.

The Regenerative Medicine: Opportunities for Australia report was also launched at AusBiotech 2018 and maps out the Australian sub-sector in detail, identifying priority areas and goals to make Australia globally competitive. The project was initiated by AusBiotech’s Regenerative Medicine Advisory Committee, which is made up of member companies and research institutes, who will use the report to identify ways to improve and engage the national regenerative medicine sector and to address key advocacy areas. This report was developed by MTPConnect.

AusBiotech 2018: Industry Excellence Awards

The well-attended AusBiotech 2018 national conference saw the AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards recognise innovative companies and individuals in Australia’s world-class biotechnology, medical technology and healthcare sectors. This year the Awards received an overwhelming number of emerging company nominations, demonstrating the positive Australian environment our life sciences companies are working within. For the first time ever, joint-winners were awarded for this category. We reiterate congratulations to:

  • Industry Leadership Award: Dr Anna Lavelle
  • Company of the Year: Medicines Development for Global Health
  • Joint Emerging Company of the Year: Telix Pharmaceuticals and Microba

Facilitating international opportunities

AusBiotech was delighted to lead a delegation of over 300 Australian delegates to BIO, with the support of the Federal, Queensland and Victorian governments. Australia’s representation was headlined by the presence of Australian Federal Health Minister, the Honourable Greg Hunt MP, as well as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Queensland Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones MP. Strategic discussion topics included Australia’s innovation ecosystem, clinical trials and further opportunities for growth with prominent USA biomed companies.

AusBiotech activities snapshot for 2018

As 2018 nears its end, we are proud to reflect on the global standing of our industry and the dedication of our members. AusBiotech has continued to underpin the future growth of the Australian life sciences industry:

  • Hosted 65 events in total, including 3 international events;
  • Attracted over 7,500 delegates to events in total;
  • Held a successful AusBiotech national conference in Brisbane, attracting over 1,100 delegates from 20 countries, including facilitating over 1,300 AusPartnering meetings - to network, collaborate and discuss sector successes and issues;
  • Made 15 submissions to governments and attended more than 30 meetings with various government departments and Parliamentarians;
  • Represented the industry at 10 consultations;
  • Almost 100 Biotech Dispatch e-newsletters;
  • 3 Australasian Biotechnology journals;
  • Facilitated more than 1,850 partnering meetings, through the business matching programme;
  • Managed Australia’s delegation to BIO in the US for the 12th consecutive year;
  • Expanded the Women in Life Sciences Luncheon and added the new Big Sisters programme;
  • Attracted record numbers to the AusAg and Foodtech Summit, which included an early investment pitching event for the first time.

Board and team

AusBiotech welcomed new CEO and Managing Director, Lorraine Chiroiu, as well as new Board Director Dr Dean Moss.

Office closure

The AusBiotech office will be closed over the holiday period from noon, Friday 21 December 2018 until 9.00 am, Wednesday 2 January 2019. BiotechDispatch will resume on Tuesday 15 January 2019. 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 2019.

Save the dates for 2019 events

We are currently planning to run up to 70 events in the 2019. Keep an eye on the AusBiotech website and save the dates for:

  • NSW Women in Life Sciences Luncheon 2019, 8 March 2019, Sydney
  • Asian Investment Series 2019
  • Hong Kong Biotech Invest & Partnering, 26 March 2019, Hong Kong
  • Australia-China Biotech Invest & Partnering, 28-29 March 2019, Shanghai
  • AusMedtech 2019, 14 – 15 May, Melbourne
  • Bio International Convention 2019, June 3-6, Philadelphia
  • Australia Biotech Invest & Partnering, 1 November, Melbourne

AusBiotech 2019, 30 October – 1 November, Melbourne.