Australia has a worldwide reputation as one of the leading locations for the development and manufacture of medical technologies, biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals. A very first comprehensive analysis reveals that our state is at the epicentre of this sector.

Last year in March 2016, the Victorian Government released the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Sector Strategy.

The Strategy was put in place after medical technologies and pharmaceuticals (medtech and pharma) were identified as one of eight priority sectors that signaled strong potential for significant growth – in which Victoria is poised to lead the world. The government's A$200 million Future Industries Fund has been turbocharging these priority sectors, providing fundamental support to industry and manufacturing businesses.

International engagement has been a focus of the Strategy, chiefly because Victoria's medtech and pharmaceutical businesses are reliant on international markets from inception – initially for inward investment and collaboration – and later for clinical validation and export opportunities.

The Strategy has played a vital role in supporting organisations – particularly growing SMEs – to access international markets through targeted investment and trade activities, facilitating collaborations and partnerships and building necessary government-to-government relationships.

Commissioned by the government as part of the Strategy and released in July 2017, the very first comprehensive analysis of the medtech and pharma industries revealed:

  • Victoria's key export markets for medtech and pharma are the USA and Europe.
  • Manufacturing is driving huge growth in Victoria's exports – up 40 per cent in 2016 with revenues reaching A$1.3 billion.
  • Victoria's strengths in therapeutic development are in oncology, infection, immunology, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Victorian companies account for 60 per cent of the medtech and pharmaceuticals market capitalisation on the ASX.

The analysis also revealed Victoria's medtech and pharma sector has made a significant and positive economic impact by:

  • contributing over A$1.35 billion in exports to the Victorian economy – a figure which has doubled since 2011
  • employing 23,000 people
  • contributing A$2.2 billion  in value-added to the Victorian economy between 2013-14
  • contributing A$6.9 billion in upstream demand to other sectors
  • generating A$12.7 billion for the state's economy in 2015-16.

The analysis is further proof of how important the medtech and pharma sector is to the state's future prosperity, but it's not all about revenue, it's also about saving lives.

In 2016, during the launch of A$10 million grant to BioCurate initiative – one of the most significant grants delivered by the government's Future Industries Fund – Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO said Victoria can make "unprecedented strides in tackling disease and investing in transformative research to solve the health challenges for the state and the world".

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