Industry assistance programs

18.57 The Australian Government has introduced a number of programs to address some of the issues outlined above. These include:

  • Pre-Seed Fund—four early-stage venture capital funds established to invest in projects or companies spinning out from universities or government agencies, and to provide management and technical advice;[76]

  • Commercial Ready Programme—provides financial assistance to small to medium-sized enterprises for research and development, proof-of-concept, technology diffusion, and early-stage commercialisation;[77] and

  • COMET Programme—provides innovators with advice and financial assistance to plan their commercialisation, attract capital for their project, and establish strategic partnerships to take innovation to the market.[78]

18.58 Other funding programs designed to support the biotechnology industry were outlined in DP 68.[79]

18.59 AusBiotech Ltd, the peak national body for the biotechnology industry, has developed programs to support the Australian biotechnology industry. It addresses education issues through seminars, professional development workshops, networking events in each state and an annual conference.[80] A range of state and territory based programs is also in place to promote the biotechnology industry.[81]

[76] Australian Government, The Pre-Seed Fund, Backing Australia’s Ability, <http://backingaus.innovation.> at 16 June 2004.

[77] Australian Government, The Commercial Ready Programme, Backing Australia’s Ability, <> at 16 June 2004. The Commercial Ready Programme was announced as part of the second Backing Australia’s Ability initiative, Building Our Future through Science and Innovation, in May 2004. It amalgamates the R&D Start programme, the Biotechnology Innovation Fund and the Innovation Access Programme introduced in the original Backing Australia’s Ability initiative.

[78] Australian Government, Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) Programme, Backing Australia’s Ability, <> at 16 June 2004.

[79] Australian Law Reform Commission, Gene Patenting and Human Health, DP 68 (2004), Ch 11. As noted above, some of the programs have now been amalgamated into the Commercial Ready Programme.

[80] AusBiotech Ltd, Latest Events, <> at 7 May 2004.

[81] For example, the New South Wales Government’s BioFirst Strategy, which provides funding and a range of programs to support the local biotechnology industry: New South Wales Government, BioFirst Strategy, <> at 16 June 2004. For an overview, see Department of Education Science and Training, The Contributions of the States and Territories to Australia’s Science and Innovation System (2003).