This year’s AusBiotech investment conference comes amid a period of renewed investor interest in Australian life sciences.

The recent momentum in Australia’s life sciences sector will be in focus next week, as leading industry players gather in Melbourne for this year’s AusBiotech Invest & Partnering 2019 event.

Taking place next Thursday, October 31 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, the conference is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

And Scott Power, a senior analyst at Morgans, said this year’s conference will take place amid a period of renewed investor interest in the sector.

“I think if you look at the biotech space more broadly, it’s certainly back in focus. There’s been some solid returns from the SaaS-based companies, and any clinical trials that have been successful we’ve seen some very strong price movements – Clinuvel (ASX:CUV) was a great example of that last week.”

Next wave of capital flows

Power added the increase in activity is also part of the broader pattern of changing capital flows, as investors look for the next market opportunity.

“What happens is you get cycles or waves of interest in particular areas,” he said. “People make or lose money then they look for the next wave.”

“For example, going back 18 months there was a lot of interest in rare earths with the electric vehicles thematic. Then we saw the peak of interest in the tech space and the rise of SaaS and artificial intelligence.

“But that wave in biotech has been building, and what’s bringing investors back is a run of success in the space – more companies have hit their clinical and regulatory milestones.”

In terms of exciting investment narratives within the biotech space, Power highlighted gut health as one area that’s attracted plenty of interest lately. Another topical sector is immuno-oncology – treatments used to boost the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.

This year’s conference will feature 25 companies, comprised of both listed and private companies.

The event also provides a networking platform, where companies can arrange meetings with industry delegates and potential investors.

Keynote presenters include Dr Niels Emmerich, Vice President of $US163 billion NYSE-listed pharmaceutical company AbbVie.

AusBiotech says the event will help add another layer of support for Australia’s life sciences sector, which is building momentum from a strong base with an established regulatory framework and government support.

Power said the sector is well placed to attract investment capital in search of higher returns, in an environment of falling interest rates and static economic growth.

“In a low-growth environment there’s still money going into some of the more speculative industries, and that’s the case with some of the leading Australian biotechs that are trying to pioneer technology in a given area,” he said.

Investors can register free for the event here: