Projected US-Australia biotechnology trade could inject US $10 billion into economy

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A new report has found that Australia could generate over US$10 billion in exports to the US and create 34,000 high-skilled jobs by accelerating biotechnology collaboration between the countries.

The new report was provided by KPMG Australia and the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham).

'A Prosperous Future: Biotech' reveals the economic opportunity for Australia to leverage its strengths and tap into the rapid growth of the US biotechnology sector, with total industry revenue expected to increase from US$491 billion in 2022 to US$1,250 billion in 2030.

KPMG said modelling predicts human health biotechnology will continue to grow over the coming years due to a global increase in chronic disease and cancer prevalence, with R&D in the biopharmaceutical industry also seeing an uptick.

Australia currently ranks fifth in the world for research and translation and third in market share for Antisera and other blood products.

The report identifies Australia’s research and clinical trial capabilities as key pillars of its comparative advantage, along with its flexible regulatory landscape, increasing investment in manufacturing, and established trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The report notes that health and medical research remains one of Australia’s strongest research areas, with over 60 per cent of research outputs ranked as ‘above’ or ‘well above’ world standard.

This has contributed to the number of Australian biotechnology enterprises rising by 66 per cent from 487 in 2008 to 810 in 2022, with the workforce increasing by 51 per cent.

US Ambassador to Australia and AmCham Patron Caroline Kennedy said, “It has been a privilege to meet people across Australia who are working with Americans on these cutting-edge technologies. I am excited to see the results of their collaborations which will build a global bioeconomy and benefit people around the world. I salute AmCham and KPMG for their recognition of the centrality of biotechnology to our future and congratulate all AmCham members for their work to strengthen this important relationship and increase the bonds of friendship between our countries.”

Report co-author Dr Brendan Rynnem, KPMG Australia’s chief economist, said, “The US biotech market is anticipated to grow significantly, and our modelling suggests Australia has an opportunity to generate up to US$10 billion in incremental biotech exports by 2030, largely in our leading areas of human health as well as food and agricultural biotechnology. Increasing Australia’s capacity to commercialise new biotech innovations is key to achieving the accelerated growth outcomes we modelled. There is no lack of opportunity to increase market share in the United States, but Australian businesses must identify their market early, differentiate their products in a very competitive market, and then build partnerships and networks in the US.”

Report co-author Doug Ferguson, KPMG Australia’s head of Asia and international markets and NSW Chairman, said, “To achieve this US export growth opportunity, KPMG estimates a potential inflow of US$11 billion in new US investment and the creation of 34,000 new highly skilled jobs in Australia. Getting this right could be a game changer for our biotech industry, but it requires our industries and governments working cooperatively together.”

AmCham CEO April Palmerlee added, “The US-Australia alliance is indispensable to both nations, both strategically and economically. We have an opportunity to harness our complementary strengths, research institutions, and trusted partnership to create valuable exports, investment and jobs in a sector that will have an incredible impact on the health and wellbeing of our societies.”