Data and Insights, Identifying Opportunities + Advocacy

Posted: December 2021

Be the go-to source for the Healthtech Industry and Victorian Government for data and insights on sector potential, priorities and needs.

Work with the Healthtech Industry to identify and prioritise strategic projects and working groups and advisory panels that support industry transformation and strengthening of the local innovation ecosystem.

Often the first three elements of our strategy strongly interrelate:

LaunchVic – Victorian startup database development

We partnered with LaunchVic and Startup Genome to support the development of the Startup Genome report on the state of the ecosystem in Victoria. Together we were able to provide a list of 180 life sciences organisations across all sectors.

This was an exciting opportunity to raise awareness, attract investors and other international resources to Victoria. Read about Startup Genome and find the report here.

From this work, Melbourne can now be reported to be part of the top 10% of start-up destinations for Global Life Sciences.

Next steps

  • BioMelbourne Network is reaching out to the companies within this state-wide database to raise awareness of who we are and how we can support them in their journey.
  • Data was collected through an industry survey and AI tools. While this successfully increased the list of Healthtech start-ups by a factor of ten, we acknowledge it is not yet a complete representation of the Victorian Healthtech start-up sector.
  • We’ll continue to develop the database and seek to connect with Healthtech start-ups, especially those in regional Victoria.
  • Our work with Regional Development Victoria and DJPR will continue to ensure the database is maintained and remains relevant.
  • Know of any start-ups who would like to connect with BioMelbourne Network for support? Then please email us info@biomelbourne.org

DJPR/ AMMC – Mapping Victoria’s medtech product development infrastructure

Over the past weeks, we have completed our involvement in the mapping of the Victorian MedTech product development infrastructure for the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions (DJPR) through the Australian MedTech Manufacturing Centre (AMMC), along with Dandolo Partners.

This was an opportunity to map the entire environment around MedTech product development in Victoria from earliest stages right through to final manufacturing and commercialisation.

Announced in November 2020, the Australian MedTech Manufacturing Centre (AMMC) has been given $20M funding. This new hub will put Victoria at the forefront of medical technology, innovation and design. AMMC aims to champion, develop and identify new opportunities for Victoria’s MedTech manufacturing and innovation sector.

Next steps

  • The work identifies strengths and opportunities to further develop the Victorian sector to assist in securing our position in the fast-growing global MedTech industry. It will be utilised by the AMMC to strategically support specific areas to strengthen the MedTech environment.
  • BioMelbourne Network will continue to work with the AMMC to support clarification, development and implementation of related initiatives.
  • We hope to present findings from this report at an event in the new year.

Global Victoria Trade Alliance – Industry freight & logistics challenges

International air freight is at the very heart of import and export trade for the Healthtech Industry. Organisations conducting clinical trials, companies manufacturing medical devices and pharmaceuticals or operating commercial labs all require a reliable, cost effective and robust air freight infrastructure. The current Federal Government support, which is underwriting much of Australia’s air freight capacity through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM), is scheduled to end in June 2022.

Even with the continuance of some level of IFAM support through next year, we know from IATA that international passenger services won’t revert to so-called normal levels until at least 2024. Prior to the pandemic, passenger travel subsidised international air freight, as most of that freight travelled in the baggage hold of international flights. It is certain that even once international passenger travel resumes, air freight costs and lead times will remain significantly different from our pre-pandemic levels.

Over the past two months we’ve completed an issues paper describing the impact of the pandemic on freight and logistics in our sector. We developed and delivered an industry survey that over 40 companies completed and held a range of one-on-one interviews with a representative industry organisations as well as Australia’s Air Vice Marshall Marg Staib and the Victorian State Government.

In November we held an event to present the results. You can view the video recording here.

Next steps

  • We are forming a working group that will support development of solutions in collaboration with the Victorian Government for submission to the budget and to address key issues within Victoria.
  • We are coordinating with other state and industry bodies to ensure issues are raised and addressed nationally.

Federal Patent Box Regime development

Late 2020 we connected with the national Australian MedTech Manufacturing Consortium. This group comprises both national and state-based industry associations, as well as major companies such as Cochlear, Resmed, CSL and others. With them, we submitted a white paper (including outlining key features that would ensure success) to the Australian Federal Government highlighting the need for a patent box regime.

When a patent box regime was announced as part of the budget in June 2020, Treasury individually met with a range of organisations to gather input into their initial draft regime, in preparation for publication of a public draft patent box regime. A subgroup of this consortium, along with a broader range of national and state industry associations, met in July to discuss our Treasury submission approach. It identified that a consolidated effort with aligned submissions would show a consistent message, nationally. From this a range of individual corporations and industry bodies prepared their respective submissions to Treasury.

BioMelbourne Network submitted to on the patent box regime to Treasury on the 19 August 2021. Our submission messaging was carefully aligned with other state and national industry bodies, including AusBiotech.

The development of a meaningful patent box regime is still some way off. While a submission to Treasury is valuable, individual submissions don’t always reflect overarching industry support. Over the past quarter BioMelbourne Network has worked to develop a public joint statement of support for the patent box regime with Research Australia, AusBiotech and Medicines Australia to ensure that Government ministers on both sides of the aisle are provided with a unified message.

Next Steps

  • BioMelbourne Network will continue to monitor the status of the patent box regime development along with other State and National associations and will participate as required to help ensure the needs of our industry are reflected in the regime.
  • We encourage anyone with input and information related to the patent box regime development to contact BioMelbourne Network.

Research support initiative

In seeking to deliver on its strategy and to meet the needs of its diverse membership BioMelbourne Network recognises the importance and value of its research members which include not only Universities and Research Institutions but also individual researchers. BioMelbourne Network also understands that the diversity of its access to the broader Healthtech Industry provides a variety of skills and capabilities that may be useful to R&D institutions and vice versa.

BioMelbourne Network is seeking to understand how it can better serve its research members.

In focusing on the needs of the research community we have two key areas of focus:

Individual Researchers (and especially Early to Mid-Career Researchers EMCR)

  • EMCR Advisory Panel: BioMelbourne Network established an EMCR advisory panel earlier in the year to obtain insights and to better understand the needs of this group. From this, three key areas of interest were identified:
  1. Internship opportunities
  2. Networking events- Peer-to-Peer Networking, Industry Engagement
  3. Career Symposia
  • Improved access to individuals within the research community: While BioMelbourne Network has contact with all the major research institutes and organisations, we recognise that does not always translate to having connectivity deeper into the research community. We are working to improve our direct connectivity to researchers within the ecosystem so that as we develop programs, we can quickly connect with individual researchers who may benefit from that activity. Our Virtual Networking program will engage with this community as early adopters of that new platform in the new year.
  • For individual researchers who want to stay in touch, please reach out and register for our mailing list.

The Research Institutions

  • We know the capabilities of the Healthtech Industry in Victoria (companies, support professionals, etc) are of great interest to the research institutions. Equally, research institutions can support the wider Healthtech Industry, for example, with training or access to research infrastructure.
  • A consultation process will begin this quarter. We will provide more information as we progress through the process.
  • Please reach out for more information, to engage in the process or to offer insights or to identify opportunities.

Other advocacy activities

Be the peak body for the Victorian Healthtech Industry to build and maintain a supportive policy, regulatory and investment environment.

Advocacy is not only defined as the number of submissions provided to the Government on specific policy issues. Advocacy is also supporting sector priorities and representing our interests, exercising agency to influence direction, through involvement in Government initiatives and through collaboration with national industry associations.

Here are some other areas we have been working on behalf of the sector:

Consultation process with John Brumby AO: Setting the framework for the Breakthrough Victoria Fund

BioMelbourne Network was involved in a consultation process with the Breakthrough Victoria Fund to inform the development of their investment plan.  In a recent letter from John Brumby, he thanked BioMelbourne Network for our participation and outlined four key themes across their priority sectors:

  • A lack of capability and access to enabling technologies is resulting in a loss of Intellectual Property and talent to overseas markets
  • A fear of going first and a low-risk appetite in Australia (relative to other markets) is limiting the ability to bring breakthrough concepts to market
  • A lack of ‘investment–ready’ opportunities is resulting in low rates of private investment in Victoria across priority sectors
  • Systematic and institutional barriers mean Victoria’s strength in R&D is not translating into commercial, growth and employment outcomes

As we gain more clarity with respect to the Breakthrough Victoria Fund, we’ll be there to support its implementation and to keep you informed of the opportunities.

Victoria Summit 2021’s “Summit Pathways Day”

BioMelbourne Network participated in the Victoria Summit 2021’s “Summit Pathways Day”.  This was an opportunity to come together with thought leaders from industry, unions, governments, and educational institutions and work together to create a compelling and aspirational vision for Victoria, and a path for our state’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity. Specifically, we discussed how to achieve the key themes developed during the August “Vision Day” around business and economy, future of work, community, health, and wellbeing.  We’ll be participating in another round, which will focus on developing specific actions that can be taken to deliver key outcomes for each of these themes.

Supported the launch of mRNA Victoria with Minister Pulford

BioMelbourne Network has been actively supporting the Victorian Government’s “Approach to Market” launched by the Federal Government to develop population scale mRNA vaccine manufacturing within 1-3 years, as well as the Victorian state initiative to put $50M into mRNA vaccine manufacturing.

  • Supported the public launch of mRNA Victoria in an event on August 10th with Minister Jaala Pulford and Dr. Amanda Caples.
  • On the 16 June, mRNA Victoria announced the formation of their Science Advisory Group to provide advice on mRNA manufacturing capability in Victoria. mRNA Victoria engaged with BioMelbourne Network and AusBiotech to form an industry advisory panel from across Victoria to support their effort. An EOI was issued across the industry with 61 companies responding. mRNA Victoria has been leveraging these organisations in development of their program.

Provided input to the development of the Australia Medtech Manufacturing Centre

Australian Medtech Manufacturing Centre (AMMC): In November 2020, BioMelbourne Network was involved with the early consultation with the Victorian Government around the development of the AMMC to provide insights around the needs of the sector and where the AMMC might have the greatest impact.  The AMMC is a $20 million hub that will help put Victoria at the forefront of medical technology, innovation and design. The hub will champion, develop and identify new opportunities for Victoria’s MedTech manufacturing and innovation sector.  With the recent placement of Shelley Jackson into the role as AMMC’s Director, they are expected to ramp up activities in support of the sector.

  • The project to Map the Victorian Medtech Manufacturing Ecosystem was funded through the DJPR and AMMC.
  • BioMelbourne Network is working to showcase the report and update sector support activity by AMMC in the new year. Watch for more information in our events updates.

Support of Global Business & Talent Attraction Taskforce

BioMelbourne Network has been participating in discussions with the Federal Global Business & Talent Attraction Taskforce and the availability of their Global Talent Visa and Beach Head Visa programs which finishes June 2022.   We met with Peter Verwer the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Global Business and Talent Attraction with the Australian Government, and Sarah Thapa Managing Director at the Migration Agency to discuss the program.  Please reach out to get more information on the program and visit their website to learn more about the criteria.  Special thanks to Marilyn Jones for initiating the discussion with the Federal Government along with nearly all the key state and national industry bodies in Australia.

Some important facts

  • Through the program, once a Global Talent Visa is issued, that individual and direct family members immediately have permanent residence status.
  • 7K have been issued to date, with 15K remaining open
  • 60% of Visa’s issued have been within Digital Technologies and Health/ Life Sciences related sectors
  • Beach Head Visas are issued to individuals within companies setting up a subsidiary in Australia, allowing for an 18-month window

We also participated in the Australian Research Council’s Workforce Capacity Summit at the end of November.  A survey was issued to collect input from the Victorian Healthtech Industry across relevant sectors of focus in preparation for our involvement in the summit.   Thanks to all members who participated in providing their insights in this important program.

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