Calls on Canberra to support biotech, as medical tech companies wait for funding

One of the country’s most seasoned biotech investors urged the federal government to do more to support the sector, as medical tech companies wait for funding to come from a $ 1.5 billion program to boost manufacturing in Australia.

The life sciences industry applauded the $ 1.5 billion “modern manufacturing strategy” when it was introduced last October, when the government flagged six priority manufacturing areas and plans to help them. companies to produce valuable products on land.

The strategy includes three grant programs for businesses. However, only two of the grant streams have received applications so far, with $ 140 million allocated to all six areas between 2021 and 2024. The priority areas of the program are space, medical products, resources, food and beverage, defense, recycling and clean energy.

The co-founder of prominent biotech investment firm Brandon Capital, Dr Chris Nave, said the program was a valuable starting point to help keep companies on the ground during commercialization. However, he said that because the overall manufacturing program was shared by a range of industries, and after you split the funding between them, “you don’t end up with a hell of a lot of money” for the products. medical.

“You have to start somewhere, and I’m not criticizing the amount – but when you look at how important the manufacturing is going to be, to me you could almost say [no amount] might be enough.

Scott Morrison announcing the new manufacturing policy last October.Credit:AFR

So far, the “translation” and “integration” workflows have both undertaken a first set of applications. These grants are designed to help start-ups commercialize their technology and access new supply chains. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources told the masthead that the companies’ arguments were still being examined.

“Assessment of requests for [modern manufacturing initiative] The integration and translation components are underway and decisions on fund allocations are the responsibility of the minister and the government and will be taken in due course, ”they said.

According to the backgrounders, funding will represent up to 50 percent of the total amount a company spends on a manufacturing project, with grants ranging from $ 1 million to $ 20 million. The ministry predicts that the average grant amount will be $ 4 million.

The policy also involves a grant program known as “Collaboration Manufacturing,” which is designed to help fund much larger manufacturing projects. Applications are not yet open.


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