South Australian biotech goes big in Boston

13 Sep 2023
A record-high number of South Australian companies have attracted global attention at the world’s biggest biotech event during a trade mission to the United States, with 16 local organisations in negotiations worth an estimated $14 million.

Supported by the Government of South Australia, the local South Australian organisations are continuing their discussions from BIO 2023 International Convention, with work to finalise the delas taking place over the coming months.

The four-day June event, which featured more than 20,000 participants from 73 countries, provided a platform to showcase the state’s world-class biotech precinct on North Terrace and enabled direct local pitches to international biotech companies.

SA representatives included specialists in clinical trials and drug development, along with pharmaceutical manufacturers and academia.

Trade and Investment Minister Nick Champion and Invest SA led the business mission, with a focus on building the state’s pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing – critical in growing South Australia’s relationship with the United States. The delegation included two companies manufacturing drugs and vaccines to global regulatory standards.

The BIO International Convention identifies industry trends, which this year included a push towards greater diversity and inclusion in drug development and clinical trials, improving patient-reported outcomes and use of artificial intelligence.

South Australian companies and researchers are at the forefront of these trends, fuelling investment opportunities for the state.

“Drug development is an international team sport,” said Kylie Sproston, CEO of Bellberry. “In a typical year, half of the early phase clinical trials reviewed by Bellberry Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) are US-sponsored trials carrying inward investment.

“Furthermore, two thirds of all clinical trials reviewed by Bellberry HRECs have international sponsor companies. Attendance at key international events like BIO is therefore important – it’s where we meet new companies, discuss future research possibilities, and make the connects to support work in the following year.

“We know that the vibrant, nimble and closely connected ecosystem in Australia, and particularly South Australia, is part of what attracts companies to conduct their research here. The support from the South Australian Government at BIO assists in forming those partnerships to further attract companies to the state.”

This year’s record result follows more than $6 million worth of deals struck for local stakeholders at last year’s event, leading to an estimated $20 million worth of activity over the 12 months that followed.

Invest SA, which supported BIO 2023 participants, has helped funnel $1 billion into South Australia, as the agency continues to grow the state’s trade network and attract global investment.

SA attendees at BIO 2023 included: Adelaide Intermediary Program/MTP Connect; Agilex Biolabs; Australian Teletrials Program; Avance Clinical; Bellberry; Bentley’s R&D Incentives; BioCina; BiomeBank; Carina Biotech; CMAX Clinical Research; Commercial and General; Mayne Pharma Services; Southern Oncology Clinical Research Unit; Syneos Health, Yuhan ANZ and the University of South Australia.

The next BIO International Convention will be held in San Diego in June 2024.