17 August 2022

Health and pharmaceutical giants now call Australia

A growing list of global health and pharmaceutical giants are calling Australia home, with recent announcements of new research and manufacturing facilities adding to the country’s capabilities and reputation.

With more than 2,650 homegrown and international companies working in Australia’s medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields, the health and life sciences industry is booming –worth A$5.6 billion in 2021, it is one of our biggest export sectors and opportunities abound.

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO – ranked globally in the top 1 per cent of 15 key research fields – has this month opened a new A$23.1 million facility that will bolster the country’s ability to quickly produce vaccines and drug treatments onshore.

 Based in Melbourne, the National Vaccine and Therapeutics Lab will partner with local biotechnology companies to develop and manufacture products for clinical trials at both national and international level.

 “This new shared National Lab will help Aussie companies bridge that ‘valley of death’ – the gap between the lab bench and making a product that’s having an impact on people’s lives,” said CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall.

A scientists in a white clean suit looks at looks at a clean liquid in glass containers. Credit: CSIRO

Pharmaceutical giant Moderna has also chosen Melbourne to build the first mRNA vaccine production facility in the Southern Hemisphere. Joining other world-leading companies at Monash University’s technology precinct, Moderna will partner with the Australian and Victorian governments to produce up to 100 million vaccine doses each year. Monash University will also establish a research and training centre to complement the mRNA innovation ecosystem.

Medical technology leader Stryker is another global player expanding its operations to Australia, joining 500 other medtech companies already established in this country. The US-headquartered company will partner with the University of Technology Sydney to establish the Enabling Technologies Education Hub for research, training and education in spine, cranial and trauma surgery. The hub will enable researchers and tertiary students to use Stryker’s cutting-edge technologies – including robotics and guidance systems – in a workshop environment before applying them in the operating room.

“The Hub is a local investment with a global focus, and we look forward to collaborating with clinicians and researchers from across Australia and the APAC region,” said President of Stryker South Pacific Maurice Ben-Mayor.

And homegrown companies are attracting global attention. US giant Pfizer earlier this month raised its offer in pursuit of an Australian digital health company that develops smartphone apps for diagnosis and management of respiratory disease. ResApp Health uses machine learning algorithms to analyse recordings of a person’s coughs and breathing sounds to diagnose diseases such as bronchitis, asthma and potentially COVID-19.

With a long history of medical success stories – think ultrasound, the bionic ear, spray-on skin, the Gardasil HPV vaccine and the electronic pacemaker, just to name a few – Australia continues to push the scientific boundaries and provide opportunities for businesses, investors, startups, entrepreneurs and talent from all over the world.

Check out the generous funding initiatives, partnership programs and R&D incentives that underpin Australia’s success in health and life sciences – and its vision to remain a world leader in this field.  See health-and-life-sciences for more.