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Bio-savvy: how Australia can build a stronger biotechnology industry

Policy Online carries a link (24.10.16) to a McKell Institute research report which details ‘how to protect Australia’s position as a top investment destination for biotechnology, and assesses ways to improve that position and the industry, to give Australia the best chance of competitive advantage in the future’. The report includes a state-by-state analysis of biotechnology sector performance, and details of state and federal government support measures for the industry.

‘Although biotechnology is a broad field, we have chosen to specifically focus on the largest sector within biotech – human health. However, many of the recommendations proposed here will necessarily have positive flow-on effects to the broader industry. The report begins by mapping the Australian biotech industry, and benchmarking it against our major competitors. It then discusses the three main problems that beleaguer the industry: a lack of speed through the development pipeline; a lack of clear policy direction by the government; and the fact that the industry is notoriously poor at attracting investment – and proposes recommendations to mitigate and rectify these issues. Although this report is organised around the three main problems identified, many of the issues and recommendations overlap, alluding to the complexity of the industry and the importance for a coordinated vision and plan.

‘The report concludes with a final call to government for bipartisan support of the industry: any young industry requires government support in its teething years, but none more so than biotech. However, the potential payoff for this industry is far greater than many others before it. The warning is that Australia cannot afford to stall. Our competitors are moving quickly, and we must counter their efforts to ensure we are the ones who reap the rewards from a strong biotechnology industry.’

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