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Bio Technology : October 2009
72 Australasian BioTechnology Volume 19 • Number 3 • October 2009 AusBioINTERNATIONAL UK biotech looks to Australia By Jon Mowles, Sector Specialist: Life Sciences, UK Trade & Investment As many companies struggle in these economic times, businesses are increasingly looking outside their own borders in their attempts to diversify and grow. In the biotechnology sector, these inter- national collaborations are particularly important in powering research, expertise and funding. A British delegation of around 30 companies and academics will be coming to Australia for AusBio- tech 2009, all looking to explore opportunities with Australian companies, universities and research institutions. This is on top of the strong British presence attending the event independently, such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), AstraZeneca and Roche. Everyone knows how closely linked personally and politi- cally Australia and the UK are: 959,000 Australians visited the UK in 2008 and over one million Brits came to Aus- tralia. What fewer people realise are the deep economic links between the two countries. As countries around the world struggle to move towards positive growth, trade and investment are proving to be crucial in stimulating econo- mies worldwide. When times are tough, companies are increasingly looking to expand into established, resilient economies with strong IP protection and advanced infrastructure -- countries like Australia and the UK. Australia's strong recent economic performance, when combined with its status as the bio- technology hub for the Asia Pacific region and leading R&D credentials has made it an increasing focus for biotech- nology companies and institutions worldwide and British organisations in particular. These international partnerships can bring many mutual benefits to both parties, and for Australian companies partnering with UK-based organisations, it can be a launch pad for global success. Melbourne company Biota reaped the benefits from its partnership with GSK as orders for the Relenza vaccine, developed by Biota and manufactured by GSK in Melbourne, soared amidst the escalating swine flu pandemic. Despite suffering some setbacks, like other major global centres for business, the UK remains one of the world's leading financial, economic and biotechnology centres. It has Europe's largest pharmaceutical industry and the world's second largest, behind the US. The UK often acts as a business multiplier, giving companies greater access to the talent, business networks and potential investors they need to grow their business. For Australian biotech- nology companies looking to expand, the UK has a track record of fast, efficient and profitable product development with a world-class scientific research base, access to publicly-funded support and proven routes to market.