Tuesday, 07 April 2020 Sydney

Key facts on the Australian biotechnology sector::

The sector comprises a range of companies, from start-ups to more developed companies selling products in Australia and overseas, and applying biotechnology to health, industrial processing, agriculture and environmental issues.

The biotech sector has matured significantly in recent years. At 31 December 2009, the end of the fourth quarter (Q4), 65 ASX-listed biotech companies were included in the Biotech Business Indicators (BBI) with a combined market capitalisation of $23.4 billion (bn), compared to $9.9 bn at the end of Q4 2004, when the Department complied the first edition of The BBI.

CSL is Australia's largest biotechnology company, with a market cap of over $19.1 bn at the end of Q4 2009. The market cap of the ASX-listed biotechnology companies included in the BBI, excluding CSL, at the end of Q4 2009 was $4.2 bn. This compares to $4.1 bn at the end of Q4 2004.

The combined market cap for biotechs excluding CSL, fell dramatically over 2008 to a low of $2.1 bn at the end of Q4 2008.  Over the last twelve months, their combined market cap has grown by 102 per cent. The market cap for Q4 2009 remains 21.5 per cent below that of the market cap historical high for this group, $5.4b, achieved in Q1 2007.

During Q4 2009, notable secondary capital raisings amounted to approximately $90 m.

In Q4 2009, significant Australian biotech Peplin Inc., was delisted from the ASX following its acquisition by Danish international pharmaceutical, LEO Pharma A/S.

At the end of Q4 2009, excluding CSL, 12 companies monitored in BBI had a market cap in excess of $100 million (m).  These combined market cap of the 12 companies was over $3.2 bn.  The number of large cap companies is a proxy indicator for the maturity of the biotech sector.

At the end of Q4 2007 some 15 companies were valued in excess of $100 m by the market [combined market cap $3.4 bn].

At the end of Q4 2008 this number had fallen to five [combined market cap $0.8 bn], reflecting the impact of the global financial crisis (GFC).

The maturation of the sector since 2004 illustrates the ongoing benefits of a strong research base, further underlined by the increasing number of companies with products in the later stages of clinical trials.  Income generation from sales will allow these companies to mature their business structures and rely less on raising capital from external sources.

The sector's major exports continue to be IP, through licensing deals with large international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

For key indicators and statistics on the Australian biotechnology sector, visit http://www.innovation.gov.au/Section/AboutDIISR/FactSheets/Pages/AustralianBiotechnologySectorFactSheet.aspx


Source: Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research