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Australia’s life sciences sector is one of the largest in the southern hemisphere and is growing fast. 

Our healthcare industry success is built on:

  • rapid growth in Australia's biotechnology sector
  • an established clinicals trials industry, respected across the Asia-Pacific region
  • an early adopter culture in our public and private health sectors
  • leadership in specific fields — including vaccines, gene and cell therapies
  • a culture of collaboration between researchers, clinicians and entrepreneurs.

The sector employs around 264,000 people and at least 70% of workforce holds an advanced diploma or higher qualification. Our health sector pioneered the GARDISIL HPV vaccine, the cochlear ear implant, the CPAP breathing device and ‘spray on’ skin.

Australia is a growing exporter of niche life sciences services, medical products and medtech. Our advanced clinical trials networks are used by global pharmaceutical companies.

  • Australian clinical trials data is accepted by global regulators, including the US Food and Drug Administration, and the European Medicines Agency.
  • Over 750 organisations support life science research development, commercialisation and manufacturing.  
  • Exports include bionic devices, implants, nanotechnology and 3D-printed body parts.

Digital goods include smart devices, wearable devices and digital therapeutics.

How we can help

contacts
Contact a trade adviser

Helping overseas buyers to connect with Australian companies.

Advanced therapeutics

Capability map

Incentives, grants and support

Funding options are available to overseas companies that work with the clinical and life sciences sector in Australia.

Snapshot

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Health and life sciences


Growth

Australia’s life sciences sector has grown by 43% since 2019.


Industry sponsored trials

2nd in the world for Phase I clinical trials in 2021 and 4th for Phase II.


Cell and gene therapies

11% of global clinical trials were conducted in Australia in 2020.

The Government wants Australia to be a global leader in life sciences. This includes research, trials, commercialisation, manufacturing and exporting.

  • Australia's A$20 billion  MRFF aims to transform health and medical research, and innovation.
  • We consistently rank among Nature Index’s top 10 contributors to life sciences research globally – including 9th in 2022.
  • Our advantages include high-quality infrastructure, streamlined regulatory pathways, an ethnically diverse population, high quality regulators and globally recognised clinicians.
  • Australia ranks 3rd for intellectual property rights in the region on the International Property Rights Index 2022.

Australia’s life sciences sector benefits from a strong but flexible regulatory regime. Our business culture promotes R&D and commercialisation. 

Australia has a rich network of life sciences organisations. These includes research institutes and capabilities, health precincts, national industry bodies that draw the industry together, initiatives and funding for innovation collaboration, and accelerator programs. 

  • Health is one of the top 6 priority areas for Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Areas of expertise include molecular diagnostic solutions and precision health. (Source: CSIRO Annual Report 2022-23).
  • Our health precincts connect hospitals, universities, research institutes and industry partners. The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct is one of the largest precincts in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • AusBiotech maintains a database on Australian Life Sciences Incubator and Accelerator Programmes.
  • Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) programs – such as the Digital Health CRC – maximise translational research by working with the private sector.
  • The Digital Health Blueprint outlines Australia’s 10-year vision for digital health. 

CSIRO facilities include the National Vaccine and Therapeutics Lab; the Recombinant Protein Production and Purification Facility; the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness; and the Biomedical Materials Translational Facility.