Flagship conference demonstrates buoyant life sciences sector


The AusBiotech 2017 annual national meeting held last week in Adelaide has demonstrated the buoyancy of the sector after attracting 985 delegates from 18 countries, the largest delegations from China, Japan, NZ, Singapore and South Korea, UK and the USA – to network, collaborate and discuss sector successes and issues.

The buoyant sector heard from world-class speakers, received new sector statistics showing a significant sector, congratulated the 2017 J&J Award winners and welcomed a new round of Federal grants.  

A new Life Sciences Sector Snapshot 2017 commissioned by AusBiotech to provide a comprehensive overview of the life sciences sector within Australia, revealed the magnitude of the life sciences sector for the first time, confirming that there are approximately 232,218 people employed in the Australian life sciences sector, across 1,653 organisations.

The research shows that 53 per cent of life sciences organisations in Australia are industry-based, with 875 companies and approximately 30 per cent of the workforce in the sector is employed by industry, at around 69,109 people.

MTPConnect, the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre, announced it has selected 20 national projects to receive collectively $7.385 million in funding over two years with proposed matched funding of $15.2million coming from the sector.

MTPConnect’s Project Fund Program is a competitive, dollar-for-dollar matched funding program investing in big, bold ideas to improve the productivity, competitiveness and innovative capacity of Australia’s medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector. MTPConnect is supported by the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centres Initiative.

AusBiotech is pleased to have been awarded funds for two projects: the ‘Australia-China Life Sciences Partnership Program’ (China Program); and the ‘Pan-Asia Regenerative Medicine Alliance (PARMA) Program.

The China Program will work to increase awareness and opportunities for communication, collaboration and commercialisation between the life sciences sector in Australia and China, to deliver high-quality, collaborative research and industry projects as well as valuable data analytics on commercial engagement between the two countries.

The PARMA Program, aims to develop and implement a global framework to identify and match research, marketing and investment opportunities in regenerative medicine, leveraging the pre-existing relationship between the sectors in South Korea, Japan and Australia to test and develop PARMA before expanding to other countries.

The AusBiotech and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Industry Excellence Awards recognised innovative companies and individuals in Australia’s world-class biotechnology, medical technology and healthcare sectors:

  • Industry Leadership Award - Mrs Lusia Guthrie;
  • Company of the Year - Planet Innovation; and
  • Emerging Company of the Year - CancerAid.

For more than 30 years, the annual AusBiotech national conference has brought the global community together to reflect on what has been achieved and to look at what Australia must do to further expand and promote its leading biotech sector.

Features speakers on the program included:

  • Dr Glenn Begley, Biocurate announced as Millis Orator;
  • Forming innovative partnerships to treat human diseases, with Barbara Sosnowski, Pfizer, US;
  • Building a global biotech from Australia, with Dr Silviu Itescu, Mesoblast;
  • Update on Innovation Science and Research (ISR) system review/2030 strategic plan, with Dr Charlie Day, Office of Innovation and Science Australia;
  • Inventing supply chains for 21st century cures - implications for product development with Dr Tim Oldham, Cell Therapies;
  • Performance of the Australian biotech sector with a focus on drug development companies, with Peter Molloy, Race Oncology; and
  • Drug development in fast forward, with Dr Craig Rayner, d3 Medicine.

In addition to presenting a vast and stimulating program of speakers, AusBiotech facilitated at least 1,500 meetings between participants via the business partnering system.

AusBiotech 2018 will be held in Brisbane after the announcement that the Queensland Government will support the event next year. Speaking at the BIO International Convention in San Diego, Premier Palaszczuk said almost 1,000 business leaders, investors and scientists from Australia and overseas are expected to attend the AusBiotech 2018 national conference from 31 October to 2 November at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.