• 27 new biotech companies listed on the ASX the last two years
  • Australian companies need access to US capital to grow
  • The AusBiotech investment conference kicks off next week in WA


The Covid-19 pandemic put Australia’s biotechnology sector firmly in the global spotlight as a global race began to find effective vaccines and treatment for the virus which brought the world to a halt.

The sector has experienced some solid growth in the past two years, with industry body AusBiotech recording a 40% growth in company numbers and 27 new biotech and medical technology companies listing on the ASX.

And with the wind behind the sector, AusBiotech is keen as a bean to kick off its investment conference in Perth next week on October 27, to offer qualified investors a chance to hear up to 30 companies pitch their work, get in-depth market insights, and engage with global investment leaders on industry trends.

Key speaker Dr Arjun Goyal, who is co-founder and MD of Vida Ventures, a US-based life sciences venture capital firm with approximately $1.7 billion in assets under management, says venture capital has a critical role to play in biotech company development and that the long-term outlook for the sector is rosy.


Biotech in the US versus Australia

Dr Goyal says there are three factors when it comes to biotech investments and company creation; science, people, and capital formation.

“Considering the science, this is the most important factor. In the US, their strengths in science exist across the board and there are pockets of true world class science in Australia,” he said. 

“The main differences between the US and Australia are in teams and capital formation.  

“In the US, there is a rich well of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial scientists who are able to put together the right teams to transform science into medicines, but in Australia, this is less common.”  

Regarding the capital formation, the depth and breadth of the capital markets to support biotech within the US is much stronger than in Australia.  

“There is an emerging scene of good groups in Australia like Brandon Capital, but it still takes a few hundred million dollars to take a program into the clinic and to approval,” Dr Goyal said.

“What that invariably means is that Australian companies needs to access global capital – particularly US capital.”  


Opportunities for investment in Oz

Dr Goyal says he sees opportunities for biotech investments in Australia in areas of oncology, immunology, and virology.

“These areas in Australia have been historically very strong and include companies funded by Brandon Capital and One Ventures that we’ve seen in the US,” he said.

“Australia has a tremendous opportunity to be a major player in the biotech industry.  

“It has the most important foundation which is a history of world class innovative science and technology in oncology, immunology, and virology and it’s actually the right time for the industry-transforming medicines that are being approved by the FDA.  

“The opportunity ahead is to attract the right people and the right talent and put out the right incentives to attract the capital so that science can be translated into the right companies and improve the health of patients.” 


A ‘golden era’ in biomedical innovation

It’s quite a rosy outlook for the sector, with Dr Goyal confident we’re entering a “golden era” in biomedical innovation globally, which presents a “tremendous opportunity to develop new transformative medicines.”

“There are many diseases where there is a limited standard of care, including certain types of cancers or certain types of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. That is the opportunity ahead of us.  

“More and more of these novel medicines are coming from venture backed biotech companies, globally.  

“The mix of entrepreneurial capital, great science, and the right entrepreneurial management is giving birth to these medicines that are making a difference.”

Dr Goyal says we have a great opportunity to combine science with these entrepreneurial teams to carve out our place in the highly competitive industry.

“Despite the market gyrations and the macro outlook in the near-term, which is a headwind to biotech, the mid to long-term picture is very rosy,” he added.


Opportunity to engage with global leaders

The AusBioInvest 2022 conference kicks off on Wednesday October 27.

And among the presenters and panellists are the following listed companies: Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS), Argenica Therapeutics (ASX:AGN), Prescient Therapeutics (ASX:PTX), Microba Life Sciences (ASX:MAP), Opyl (ASX:OPL), Amplia Therapeutics (ASX:ATX), Dug Technology (ASX:DUG), Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX), and Emyria (ASX:EMD).


What: AusBioInvest 2022

When: October 27, 2022

Where: Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, WA

Go to: http://www.ausbiotechinvestment.com.au/


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Prescient Therapeutics and Opyl are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.


This article was developed in collaboration with AusBiotech, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.