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mid-sized business report

We need to support commercialisation in the Life Sciences sector

Michael Cunningham Michael Cunningham

Australia has a reputation as one of the world’s leading destinations for life sciences, developing life-changing innovations that have real social benefit – from the world’s first anti-cancer vaccine to spray-on skin for burns victims.

There is no shortage of examples of leading work by our researchers and medical professionals in life sciences, a sector that employs more than 230,000 people across 1,654 organisations (AusBiotech 2018) – the equivalent size of mining’s labour force. 

While most people would know CSL and Cochlear, fewer still would know of Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (a world leader taking an active role in photomedicine) and Avita Medical (with a focus on regenerative medicine, like spray-on skin cell therapy). In fact, companies that are, or are aspiring to be, mid-sized companies make up the bulk of the sector.

Programs, like our R&D incentives program, are essential to support mid-sized businesses to access the funding they need – particularly in the early stages of development. Much more can be done to support the sector.

Download our mid-sized business report to read the full Life Sciences insight.

Here is a short introduction to our three recommendations to help boost the Life Sciences sector:


Set the national R&D agenda

The current R&D incentive rate is 43.5% or 38.5% (dependent on turnover) – this is a guaranteed rate of return on investment that meets the R&D program test and companies rely on this to plan for future research and employment.


Encourage inter-sector collaboration

Not only does Australia have a world leading life sciences sector, but we also have a world leading education sector. Why don’t they collaborate more?


Support commercialisation

The ramp up towards commercialisation for mid-sized life sciences businesses is steep. So how can we support more of our life sciences companies to not only speed up the process to market, but to keep the companies and production in Australia?

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