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Bio Technology : October 2009
Volume 19 • Number 3 • October 2009 Australasian BioTechnology 23 Victoria's world class research and development AusBioFEATURE --- AusBiotech 2009 Australia has a long tradition of world class research and development with Victoria the leader among states. Back in 2001, the Victorian Government set itself the ambitious goal of developing its biotechnology sector to be among the world's top five. Despite the global economic downturn, Victoria's biotechnology companies have been generating impressive operating results, highlighting the appeal of investment in this non-cyclical and largely reces- sion-proof sector. A quality education and training system, a Government- supported culture of innovation and state-of-the-art research facilities have led many of the world's leading organisations to establish R&D operations in Victoria, focused around the state's core innovation capabilities, which include: biotechnology, medical research and pharmaceutical • technologies; agricultural and food technologies; • information and communications technologies; • industrial and advanced manufacturing technologies; and • environmental and energy technologies. • As well as being the home of private business research and development, many of Australia's most important public and private sector research organisations can be found in Victoria. Victoria is home to 139 biotech companies, 13 major medi- cal research institutes, seven teaching hospitals and nine universities. There is an array of vibrant research infrastructure in Melbourne with major building works happening right now across Greater Melbourne. Facilities such as the Australian Synchrotron, opened in 2007 and the $100 million life sciences supercomputer, the world's largest, which was announced in 2008 augment the strength of the State's infrastructure. The biotechnology sector in Victoria is anchored by CSL, the fifteenth largest company by capitalisation on the Australian Stock Exchange and one of the world's top 10 biopharmaceutical companies by revenue. Victoria has a growing number of mid-tier companies successfully commercialising products. The Victorian Government has invested more than $700 million in biotechnology-related research infrastructure and skills over the past 10 years. In the past year alone, the Victorian Government has announced a $300 million com- mitment to science, technology and innovation, bringing total investment over 10 years to $3.4 billion. Victoria has a strong culture of collaboration within the medical research community, in particular between researchers and clinicians. Over the past ten years, the Victorian Government has put in place leading-edge facilities and infrastructure to support the sector, and further investments are already planned or under way for the future. With such prolonged and powerful commitment, the State of Victoria is taking decisive action to support its biotechnol- ogy sector to benefit researchers, clinicians, and industry, and to deliver better health outcomes across Australia and the world.