New report confirms growth of life sciences sector

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AusBiotech has released an updated sector ‘snapshot’ it says reveals "momentous growth" in the Australian life sciences sector over the past two years.

The research confirmed 12 per cent growth in the number of organisations, growing from approximately 1,654 to 1,852, and a 5 per cent growth in employees.

The number of people working in the sector increased from 232,213 to 243,406 between 2017 and 2019.

AusBiotech said it commissioned the 2019 Sector Snapshot 2019 to provide an updated overview of the sector and to determine how it has changed since 2017 when the data was collected for the first time.

According to the snapshot, Western Australia recorded the largest growth, with the number of organisations rising since 2017 from 119 to 179 - up 50 per cent.

The number of 'companies' in the sector has risen 16 per cent since 2017 - to 1,017 - and they employ 87,397 people. This represents 36 per cent of the life sciences workforce.

Medical technology and digital health companies lead in terms of numbers, with 387, followed by pharmaceutical companies (340) and food and agriculture companies (290). The number of pharmaceutical companies has risen 21 per cent since 2017. The vast majority are classified as small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Victoria is the largest life sciences state for industry, with 32,849 employees across 372 organisations. New South Wales is a close second, with 31,365 employees across 365 organisations. Together, the two states represent almost 73 per cent of the life sciences industry in Australia.