BLP’s Science+Technology Leader Victor De Baets is one of many Australian and international biotech stakeholders attending the annual conference of AusBiotech, Australia’s peak biotechnology industry association.
With important themes regarding the future of the sector emerging over the three days, Victor discusses some of these below.
The future of LifeSciences in South Australia
Gathering in Adelaide, the 2017 conference was opened by the Premier of South Australia Hon Jay Weatherill who expanded on the global significance of Adelaide’s $3.7 billion ‘Biomed City’. This LifeSciences cluster consists of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the University of Adelaide Medical School & the University of South Australia Allied Health School.
The Premier also announced the construction of SAHMRI 2 which will contain a cutting edge Proton Therapy centre in Australia, and the proposal for a future new Women’s & Baby Hospital.
With the recent closure of the car industry in SA highlighting the need to create the jobs of the future, The Life Sciences is set to be one of SA’s key target sectors for creating these jobs.
The future of Collaboration for Innovation
Many of the speakers represented the larger multinational PharmaBio companies (MNCs) such as MSD, Pfizer, Novartis, Abbvie and Amgen. Global Pharmaceutical companies are facing a steady decline in return on internal R&D investment with fewer blockbuster drugs being registered. With the average cost of getting a drug to market around $2.3 billion, there is a need to find quicker and more cost effective approaches to drug discovery and delivery.
The solution to this challenge lies in partnering with universities and research institutes around the world. Australia is a particular favourite destination for these companies given the quality and scale of innovative research being undertaken here. Australia was described as being on the cusp of becoming a global leader in the Life Sciences sector and is already a favourite destination for the larger MNC’s to undertake their clinical trials.
The future of Health
Prof Lynne Cobiac, Director Health & Biosecurity CSIRO, presented an inspiring glimpse into the future of healthcare. We are currently seeing a digital disruption of the healthcare sector with a marked shift from “one size fit-all medicine” to “precision health” to anticipate and prevent disease and diagnose & treat the ill with greater precision and personalisation.
A recent AusBiotech survey showed 72% of respondents being optimistic about the future of Life Sciences in Australia. Ultimately, the key to further success will be increased global collaboration between research institutes, universities and the PharmaBio sector.