Call for govt incentives for biotechnology sector

The government should introduce an incentive to keep intellectual
property in Australia once it reaches commercialisation, according to a biotech
group.

AusBiotech and others are calling for an ‘Australian
Innovation and Manufacturing Incentive’. This would be a ‘patent box’-style
incentive intended to keep home-grown IP and associated manufacturing in
Australia.

Supporters recommend that the government consider adopting
the structure of the UK Patent Box model and adapt the policy to suit the
Australian environment.

Michael Cunningham, National Head of Life Sciences at Grant
Thornton Australia, said, “It’s imperative that Australia takes
action to remain competitive and relevant on the world stage, especially, when
other economies including the UK or Singapore are already reaping the benefits
of their tax regimes.

“Maximising Australian innovation and reinvigorating the
manufacturing sector in Australia, largely depends on the existing R&D Tax
Incentive being complemented with a tax regime that can secure Australia’s
competitiveness for the future.”

The call came as AusBiotech released its annual Biotechnology Industry Position Survey (2014).

According to the survey, advanced manufacturing associated
with the biotech industry is increasingly following traditional manufacturing
and heading overseas.

Other findings of the survey include that the industry’s
outlook for the coming year is bullish with 81% of respondents expecting their
business to grow and 70% of companies intending to hire more people.

In addition, the survey found that that the R&D Tax
Incentive was very well received and its preservation remains the number one
public policy issue within the biotech industry.