Biotechnology refers to the use of living organisms, or their products, to modify human health and the human environment.

Australia is home to around 470 biotechnology companies, ranging from start-ups to more developed companies selling products in Australia and overseas. These companies operate in the sub-sectors of health, industrial processing, agriculture and the environment.      

The following information about the biotechnology sector is available on this site:          

Industrial Biotechnology: Industrial biotechnology is the set of technologies which come from adapting and modifying the biological organisms, processes, products, and systems found in nature for the purpose of producing goods and services. See the Bioeconomy and Industrial Biotechnology page to find out more about why industrial biotechnology is a key technology for realising the bioeconomy and to read the Australian biomass-based value chains scoping studies.

Biotech Business Indicators: Using data available from the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), the Department produces Biotech Business Indicators (BBI), a quarterly publication that summarises key statistics on the Australian biotech companies listed on the ASX. 

Stem Cells: The department recently commissioned a Stem Cell Research & Capability Study to develop an evidenced-based strategic assessment of the medium-long term stem cell research and industry capabilities in Australia. The study also provides some insight into possible future market technology demands and key industry opportunities. To obtain a PDF or hard copy of this report, please email the Department at with your details.

The Australian Stem Cell Centre (ASCC) closed on 30 June 2011, and was Australia’s Biotechnology Centre of Excellence. The Centre was focused on funding cutting-edge collaborative research and assisting researchers and their institutes to capitalise on translational and commercial opportunities.

National Enabling Technologies Strategy (NETS): The Government committed $38.2 million over four years to the National Enabling Technologies Strategy. The Strategy provides a framework for the responsible development of enabling technologies such as nanotechnology and biotechnology and other technologies as they emerge in Australia. It also supports projects under the Industrial Biotechnology Strategy.  

Government assistance

Federal and State Governments have established programs to support the growth and development of biotechnology industry in Australia.

Australian Government

R&D Tax Incentive provides a targeted tax offset designed to encourage more companies to engage in research and development in Australia. 

Indo-Australian Biotechnology Fund is a component of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) and provides support on a competitive basis for collaborative projects and workshops between Australian and Indian researchers.

Commercialisation Australia assists researchers, entrepreneurs and innovative companies to convert intellectual property into successful commercial ventures. 

Linkage Projects funding supports research and development projects which are collaborative between higher education researchers and other parts of the national innovation system. These projects are to be undertaken to acquire new knowledge and involve risk or innovation.  This program is administered by the Australian Research Council.

Enterprise Connect provides support to small and medium-sized businesses to improve productivity, increase competitiveness, and capitalise on growth potential. 

Innovation Investment Fund is a venture capital program that supports new innovation funds and fund managers with expertise in early-stage venture capital investing. 

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is an independent Commonwealth authority, supporting innovations that improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, including biofuels.

Stem Cells Australia: Under the ARC Special Research Initiative in Stem Cell Science, the Australian Government has awarded $21 million over seven years to the University of Melbourne’s Stem Cells Australia. Stem Cells Australia will further build Australia’s capacity to conduct world class stem cell research, keeping Australia’s stem cell researchers at the forefront of this rapidly developing field. 


The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is the major funding body for medical research within Australia.  Since 2000, the NHMRC has spent around $150 million on stem cell research. 


State governments

BioVentures is Queensland Investment Corporation's biotechnology and life science specific venture capital arm. 

Victorian BioPortal provides information about sources of funding. Also provides information on bioindustries, including sources of funding for biotechnology.   

Bio SA assists early-stage South Australian biotechnology companies access private and public funding. 

Industry & Investment NSW conducts a range of innovation and research activities including providing R&D grants and assistance.

For further information

For further information about a range of programs to assist industry to foster innovation and international competitiveness, visit the AusIndustry website or call the AusIndustry Hotline on 13 28 46.

Email for any other information about the Biotechnology sector.


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