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Health and life sciences in Queensland

Queensland’s growing biomedical sector is part of an ecosystem that combines superior scientific talent with excellent medical and research infrastructure. The state is home to more than 250 life sciences organisations, 85 core biotech companies, and more than 100 biotech-related research organisations. An emerging cluster of dynamic, innovative and entrepreneurial businesses are focusing on pharmaceuticals, medical devices and point-of-care diagnostics.

Queensland’s biomedical sector

  • A$1.86b annual gross value
  • employs 10,700
  • up to 40% growth forecast to 2027

Queensland has a world-class research base and the services to support clinical trials, testing and manufacturing. The state has 6 universities including the University of Queensland, which is ranked first in Australia and 9th globally for biotechnology research. The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital is home to the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, which offers services including:

  • Q-Pharm comprehensive, high-quality early-phase clinical trials
  • TetraQ quality-assured preclinical and clinical testing
  • Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics GMP manufacturing facilities. 

Since 2015, the Queensland Government has invested A$755 million into Advance Queensland initiative, supporting programs that drive innovation and create the right environment for new technologies and industries. This investment has in turn leveraged over A$966 million in external funding creating a significant ecosystem of innovative businesses that have grown significantly and has the technological and service know-how to support the health and life sciences sector.

Queensland boasts an array of established and emerging health precincts combining cutting-edge treatment, research, education and commercialisation.

  • The Herston Health Precinct is a growing health precinct offering state-of-the-art health, hospital and aged care services and incorporating the new Herston Biofabrication Institute.
  • The Princess Alexandra Health Precinct is a leading centre for integrated healthcare. It incorporates the Translational Research Institute, which accelerates the translation of medical research into clinical and commercial outcomes. Funding for a new Translational Manufacturing Institute was recently announced to support startups and researchers to advance their commercialisations and manufacture in Queensland.  
  • The rapidly growing Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct is a collaborative, integrated site for learning, research, investment, and the commercialisation of newly developed biomedical and health technologies. It houses the healthtech accelerator LuminaX.
  • The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, together with the Cairns Institute and the Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre, is leading research and commercialisation that improves the health and wellbeing of people in the tropics.
  • Health City Springfield Central integrates quality healthcare; medical education and research; and aged and seniors living.
  • A new Sunshine Coast Health Precinct is the largest health infrastructure asset currently under development in Australia.

The capabilities in Queensland in robotics, AI, XR and autonomous is significant, with technologies that can improve modelling, simulation and training, and better inform clinical decision-making, critical for the health sector. The Queensland Government has invested in several hubs to support these capabilities:

  • The Artificial Intelligence Hub supports and connects businesses, startups and researchers through education, programs and bringing world-class expertise together.  
  • The XR Hub is helping to develop immersive technologies talent including Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality. 
  • The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub is an agile technology centre in robotics and design-led manufacturing.

Incentives, grants and support

Your business may be eligible for support through Queensland Government funds and programs including:

  • the Ignite Ideas Fund, which supports start-ups and small-to-medium businesses to develop and commercialise innovative products, processes and services.

You may also be able to access a variety of state government resources to support trade and investment, including growth stage capital through the Backing Queensland Business Investment Fund as well as the Investment in Queensland Program.

The A$350 million Industry Partnership Program supports business, industry and research institutions to tailor flexible incentives that facilitate cross-sectoral opportunities, unlock growth in multiple industries or supply chains, and have a broad impact on the economy.

There is also the Queensland government’s dedicated global business agency, Trade and Investment Queensland, to help international investors and trade partners harness opportunities by opening doors to local industry, economic development organisations, and local and state government agencies.

Queensland’s health and life sciences industries are highly collaborative. The state’s peak industry group, Life Sciences Queensland Limited, works closely with government. The Johnson and Johnson Innovation Partnering Office @QUT is a public-private partnership that provides free commercialisation training, mentoring and networking support to emerging pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare businesses.

Case studies

EllumeHealth in Brisbane is supplying global markets with millions of its at-home, over-the-counter COVID-19 tests.

A member of the global Patheon family, Patheon Biologics’s Brisbane facility is one of only two in Australia with dedicated cGMP biopharmaceutical manufacturing capabilities. Patheon Biologics has recently undertaken a successful pilot to scale current cGMP biopharmaceuticals manufacture using mammalian cell lines.