Comparatively low COVID-19 infection rates have attracted global biotech companies to Victoria to conduct clinical trials, causing a boom for the state’s sector.
Despite Melbourne’s recent spike, local biotech firms are being flooded with work from overseas clients, particularly after taking part in ‘virtual’ trade missions delivered by state agency, Global Victoria.
360biolabs Executive Vice President, Angela Luttick, said it was a “no-brainer” for overseas biotech companies to conduct clinical trials in Victoria.
“A lot of them want to rescue their trials from other parts of the world where it can’t be conducted because the (COVID) positivity rate is so high,” Ms Luttick said.
“We are known as a great place for clinical trials because we offer a really fast regulatory environment as well as our R&D tax incentives.
“Time is money to a biotech company so pivoting or adapting to the COVID-19 environment and continuing their clinical development program in Victoria or in Australia in general, is a huge advantage for them,” she said.
360biolabs, Australia’s most comprehensive speciality laboratory based at Burnet Institute, is supporting three of the ten COVID-19 vaccine trials currently being funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
“The fact that Australian contract research organisations have attracted several CEPI-funded clinical trials confirms that we are recognised as global leaders in the immunology and virology field and demonstrates the wealth of experience in the conduct of clinical trials” Ms Luttick said.
360biolabs has taken part in virtual trade missions delivered by Global Victoria, which Ms Luttick said have opened up huge opportunities for the company. Multiple missions – including to Korea, Taiwan and the US – have been held since the pandemic started, with up to 50 more planned over the next two years across multiple sectors.
“The trade missions really open up new markets and allow us to expand on existing markets. In-market relationships established by the Victorian Government representatives make connections easier with much of the legwork reduced.
“This is particularly useful for smaller companies like 360biolabs and the trade missions essentially act as an extension of our business development team,” Ms Luttick said.
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