CSL marks official centenary

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“CSL may be one hundred years old but we are just getting started," according to CEO Mr Paul Perreault.

The company celebrated its official 100 years of operation yesterday.

It was established in 2016 as the government-owned ‘Commonwealth Serum Laboratories’ to ensure Australia had reliable access to therapeutic sera, vaccines and other life-saving biological products during times of war and other global threats.

The company tripled the size of its workforce in 1919 to help Australia battle the global Spanish Flu pandemic and it was instrumental in Australia being one of the first nations in the world to offer insulin (1923) and penicillin (1944) to its civilian population.

In initiated plasma fractionation in Australia in 1952 and began producing the polio vaccine just four years later. Within a decade, the company had produced more than 25 million doses of the polio vaccine and essentially helped eliminate the disease in Australia.

Blood fractionation and vaccines remain at the heart of the company's business, which has evolved into a $45 billion biopharmaceutical global enterprise.

CSL now operates in more than 30 countries, manufactures across three continents, and employs more than 16,000 people.

The company says it will be celebrating and commemorating the generations of scientists, medical professionals and governments who have played a role in making CSL the globally successful, innovative company it is today.

“CSL has an important heritage but an even brighter future. These centenary celebrations are a tribute and a testament to our values, science, people and the patients we serve -- yesterday, today and tomorrow," said Mr Perreault.

“Innovation is the key to the future of CSL. CSL has evolved from a company that largely brought international discoveries to Australians - to a company which translates its own early research into commercial medicines for patients around the globe. In 1994, CSL spent less than $20 million US dollars on R&D. In 2016 it will it spend close to $US600 million.

“We look forward to engaging with patients, colleagues, research professionals, academics, physicians, scientists and governments and across the globe as we celebrate our birthday and the importance and promise of innovation and medical research."