Significant growth symbolic of biotech sector’s sovereign value


The significant 40 per cent growth of Australia’s biotechnology industry in two years, revealed in AusBiotech’s new sector ‘snapshot’, is symbolic of the sector’s value to Australia and Australians.

The 'Australian Biotechnology Sector Snapshot' (Snapshot) illuminates the sector’s 43 per cent growth since 2019 and 60 per cent growth since 2017; this research shows that 1,427 of the 2,654 organisations (54 per cent) are industry-based, with the number of companies undertaking biotech research and development having grown by 40 per cent since 2019.

The number of employees behind our biotech companies has also expanded, increasing 21 per cent compared to 2019, from approximately 87,397 people in 2019 to more than 105,000 in 2022.

To determine how the Australian biotech sector is changing, the Snapshot is commissioned by AusBiotech to provide an updated and unique overview, in terms of organisation and employment numbers across the country, and gender distribution within the sector.

AusBiotech CEO, Ms Lorraine Chiroiu, said: “This Snapshot recognises the sovereign value of our Australian biotechnology sector and its place as a significant economic and social driver for our country.”

“The substantial strength of the life sciences sector, shown in the Sector Snapshot 2022 through the substantially increasing numbers of organisations and the people employed within it, depicts an actively thriving ecosystem. This maturity is a key factor for the industry’s ability to attract and retain high-value jobs and backs its ability to compete on the world stage in a knowledge-based economy.”

There are currently 192 life sciences companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), increasing a notable 19 per cent from 2019’s 161 listed companies. Twenty-six of these companies have listed since 2020. Collectively, these ASX-listed biotech companies now represent a market capitalisation of approximately $233 Billion (compared to around $170B in 2019), demonstrating a substantive 27 per cent increase in value. This is one quantifiable measure of the life science sector’s contribution to the Australian economy. The proportion of biotech companies achieving market valuations greater than $100 million (36 per cent) also measures the industry’s ability to create companies of significant future value.

The biotech sector has grown year-on-year since AusBiotech’s Snapshot research was first commissioned: growing from 1,654 organisations in 2017 to 2,654 organisations in 2022. Over the four years, the sector has seen overall growth of 60 per cent. The high-value talent backing our Australian biotechnology sector has also increased, and there are now approximately 263,693 people employed.

New South Wales and Victoria is a critical life science hub, and supports 73 per cent of Australia’s life sciences sector; each state has grown 51 per cent and 34 per cent respectively. Queensland has seen an impressive 60 per cent growth, retaining the third-largest number of life sciences organisations. Western Australia continues to steadily grow, increasing nine per cent in the past two years, and South Australia represents five per cent of the sector, growing 39 per cent to 135 organisations.

The Snapshot report offers critical metrics that align to AusBiotech’s Biotechnology Blueprint, a strategic decadal framework developed by industry, for industry. The Blueprint metrics seek to track the maturity and vibrancy growth in our ecosystem and to measure the Australian biotechnology industry’s global and local standing, and the industry’s positive contribution to Australian prosperity.

Download the Australian Sector Snapshot 2022 here.