AusBiotech urges extension of BTF

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AusBiotech says the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will make a material difference to Australians’ future and will be seen over time as a foundation strategy for improved commercialisation of Australian discoveries.

In its submission to MRFF’s Australian Medical Research and Innovation Strategy and related Priorities, AusBiotech says there is universal support for a fund designed to improve the national success rate for commercialising good biomedical science.

"In order to optimise this policy objective, we believe that a portion of the fund should be directed to Australian companies commercialising discoveries in the life science space and have suggested that a set and regular amount ought to be applied," it says.

It welcomed creation of the Biomedical Translational Fund (BTF) that was announced last December as part of the National Innovation and Sciences Agenda (NISA), describing it "as a game-changing package that will transform Australia’s ability to commercialise and benefit from our world-class research and development."

"The biotechnology and medical technology sectors are particularly excited by the ability of the program’s investment to be a multiplier and make available much-needed capital to translate our research from our universities and medical research into products and services, like medical therapies and cures, medical devices, digital heath solutions, diagnostics and vaccines.

"One effect of the fund will be to retain Australian companies on-shore and move technologies along the value chain more quickly for the betterment of the technology and the health outcomes of the Australian community," it says.

AusBiotech says consideration should be given to extending the life of the BTF beyond June 2017, so that it becomes a "reoccurring annual investment in translation and commercialisation."

"Whilst the argument that there are serious financial constraints for early stage life science companies in Australia is correct, it is also true that there remains a dearth of capital throughout the life cycle of companies and this reality should not be overlooked," it says.