WA biotechs are booming; now government wants to make the state a life sciences hub
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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With the health and life science sector being the ASX’s top performer last year, Western Australia is keen to join the party.
The state government has formed an Industry Reference Group to come up with a five-year growth plan for the industry over the coming months.
The group will be chaired by WA Chief Scientist Peter Klinken. Among its panel members is Michael Winlo from Emerald Clinics, which is listing on the ASX within days.
Health Minister Roger Cook said Perth was becoming one of Australia’s top life sciences hubs, but he wanted to take things further.
“We have a fantastic opportunity to further support our local health and medical life sciences industry which continues to deliver world-leading innovations that improve health outcomes for people in our state and globally,” he said.
“This plan will complement a range of existing initiatives and strategies, including the Sustainable Health Review’s priority to foster a culture of innovation in the WA health system to deliver better patient care.”
There are nearly 30 biotech small caps on the ASX with headquarters or operations in WA.
Another WA-based biotech is cancer-fighter Race Oncology (ASX:RAC) which is trying to bring an orphan drug to market for a rare type of leukaemia. It has also tripled in 12 months.
Invex Therapeutics (ASX:IVC) only listed in July but it too has been a top performer. Its goal is to relieve intracranial pressure, which occurs on the brain as a consequence of fluid build up. Among its backers is Fortescue Metals boss Andrew Forrest, who has a 9 per cent stake in the firm.
Another emerging sub-sector in WA is the cannabis sector. Two pot stocks, Emerald Clinics and Little Green Pharma, will hit the boards in the next few weeks.
Among the already listed cannabis-focused stocks, the best performer has been Impression Healthcare (ASX:IHL).
Of course there are a handful of laggards as well. The biggest is Neurotech (ASX:NTI) which makes devices aiming to help children with autism.
Last month it suffered a big blow when its device was dropped from the register of therapeutic goods, meaning it cannot be sold in Australia.
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