As Australians pause for a day to celebrate and reflect on who and where we are as nation, Australia’s is positioned well in biotechnology to deliver on its promise for the future as a driver for the Australian economy.
The official slogan for the day is ‘Celebrate #Australia Day your way’ and domestic biotech and medtech companies can be proud of the growing industry they are now part of and form. Australia is for third consecutive year named in the top five global biotechnology innovation hubs.
The medical technology and pharmaceuticals sector is already a significant contributor to the Australian economy, according to MTP Connect, generates about $4.4 billion in gross economic value added (4.5% of Australia’s total manufacturing gross value added), $4.0 billion in annual exports from manufacturing and employs 48,000 people.
As it currently stands the ASX-listed life sciences sector consists of more than 100 companies, with a market capitalisation of more than $90 billion and boasts the largest listed biotechnology sector as a proportion of GDP in the world.
BioShares notes that $1.54 billion was raised in capital in the 12 months to end of Sept 2016 and at that time Australia had eight companies capitalised at a billion dollars or more. Also at this date, the Bioshares Index was up 25% for the 12-month period compared to -4.5% for Nasdaq Biotech Index over same period.
The McKell Institute, in its report (Bio-Savvy: How Australia can build a stronger biotechnology industry, 2016), said biotechnology in Australia had grown at an average of 3.1% per year for the last ten years. With an increase in the demand for biotech products like human therapeutics and diagnostics, we can expect to see continued growth in the coming five years, given the right policy settings.
The Report notes that the Australian Government Department of Employment expects that the biotechnology industry will continue to record steady employment growth of 4.3% annually until 2020; this is compared to 1.7% employment growth for all industries in Australia.
In Australian biotechnology, there’s much to celebrate on #Australia Day.