Nicola Watkinson, General Manager of the Americas for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) explains the upside of conducting research Down Under.

Firstly, I’d like to explain to our audience what Austrade does before sharing how beneficial it can be for global biotechs looking to benefit from our burgeoning life sciences industry. Austrade’s role is twofold: 1) help companies from outside markets establish operations within Australia and 2) help Australian businesses looking to grow internationally get a foothold in various regions of the world, including the Americas.

The services we offer outside biopharma organizations are tailored to the needs of their businesses, but we begin by providing market intelligence—size, competition, trends, developments, talent, introductions to major research institutes as well as potential collaborators, partners and essential networks. This usually includes a visit to Australia in order to discover what we have to offer that companies can tap into for their global value chains, which most people find opens doors to new business opportunities they may not have previously been aware of.

There are obvious, macroeconomic reasons biopharma companies should be looking to do business in Australia, including the country’s stable business environment, competitive operational costs and beneficial free trade agreements (FTAs)—companies can access markets like China, Japan and Korea, which can be complex at times. But the most compelling reasons to conduct business in Australia are based on the quality and cost of research that can be found here, such as:

  • Access to talent—Australia has a deep and experienced talent pool
  • R&D tax incentives—For eligible R&D expenses, eligible companies with less than $20 million AUD revenue per year can receive a 43.5% rebate or a 38.5% non-refundable tax offset is available for all other eligible companies.
  • Clinical trials rating—they are good, fast and cost-effective, particularly in early stage. The advantage for doing early stage clinical trials in Australia for a US-based company is a baseline 28% savings. When you add in the R&D tax incentive, it can be up to 60-65% cheaper.

On the topic of clinical trials, Australia currently has arrangements in place with the EU and the US regulatory bodies where the work that comes out of Australia is received at a very high level of acceptance. This is key for researchers looking for high-quality data, a reasonable cost of completing the work and speed to market; the ability to register and start clinical trials here is something that is quite unique to Australia. This is why on average over 1400 new clinical trials are commenced in Australia every year by pharmaceutical, biopharma and medical device companies, according to analysis of clinical trials.gov (US) and the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR).

Not to mention, Australia has a $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund, one of the world’s largest, and translational research funds that international companies can partner with local research institutes in order to apply for in a range of interesting research areas, such as genomics, stem cell and cardiovascular research, among others—in other words, there are definitely partnering opportunities within Australia for international biopharma companies.

In short, Australia is an easy place to do business and start a new operation; we have high levels of transparency, low levels of administrative burden, and we have the research collaboration mindset that means that we’re easy to engage with. On top of that, we have a very positive, “can-do” attitude.

To discover how Austrade can help your business visit http://austrade.gov.au for further information.