The 2016 Biotechnology Industry Position Survey reveals that Australian life sciences companies have attracted well over $2 billion in deal flow over the last 18 months.
The survey, conducted by AusBiotech in partnership with Grant Thornton and with a contribution from Novotech, show that there has been a significant change amongst political and policy decision-makers, recognising the importance of the sector to Australia’s future prosperity.
The industry response has been positive to recent developments with 75 per cent of the respondents expecting 2016 to be a year of growth and 41 per cent indicating that the economic conditions and public policy in Australia are conducive to growing their company, up from 16 per cent in 2015.
Concerns remain in relation to the constant tinkering and reviews of the R&D Tax Incentive. “To ensure the momentum continues the Government needs to provide an environment where Australia’s biotechnology companies have consistency and stability around R&D tax and other incentives,” says Michael Cunningham, National Head of Life Sciences, Grant Thornton.
Confidence remains strong
An all-time high of 70 per cent of the companies plan to hire new staff this year, up from 64 per in 2015, and 41 per cent of respondents said the environment was conducive to growing their company compared to only 16 per cent last year.
All eyes on the R&D Tax Incentive
The R&D Tax Incentive remains the most significant Government program for promoting innovation, attracting R&D and encouraging clinical trials to be conducted in Australia.
Smart science needs smart money
Access to capital for companies developing new technologies remains a critical issue. The number of companies planning to raise capital dropped slightly to 40 per cent, down from 48 per cent in 2015.
Policy stability key
The constant reviews, threats, and tweaks to industry support programs are unsettling for biotechnology developers, who have long development cycles - and undermine business confidence.