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Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles)
ISSN: 1036-7128
Vol. 8, No. 6, 1998
Bioline Code: au98040
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles), Vol. 8, No. 6, 1998

 en Editorial, News, International relationships, Biocomputing, Meetings, Products


Australasian Biotechnology, Volume 8 No. 6, December 1998

Code Number:AU98040


Welcome to 1999 from the ABA Directors elected at the Annual General Meeting in September last year. Six directors seeking re-election were joined by three new Directors, Dr Neil Willetts, Biotechnology Consultant in NSW, formerly from Biotech Australia, Dr Peter Rogers, CUB-Brewtech in Victoria and Dr David Tribe University of Melbourne. As in recent years more Directors have been drawn from an industry/private sector background perhaps reflecting the emerging needs associated with the maturing of biotechnology and its commercialization.

Why this journal is so late!

I apologise on behalf of us all for the very late delivery of this issue of the journal. The delay has been largely due to the fact that this journal is produced mainly on a volunteer basis, and from time to time the volunteers just cannot find the necessary extra time to undertake this task. ....


Minister Announces Industry Membership of Biotechnology Consultative Group

The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, has announced the industry membership of the Biotechnology Consultative Group.

A list of members of the Consultative Group is attached.

Industry Award for Top Milk Researcher

Frothier cappuccinos, specialised milk powders and better quality yoghurt are the result of groundbreaking research into milk chemistry done by a CSIRO scientist working within Food Science Australia, Dr Mary Ann Augustin. Dr Augustin and two of her team members, Mr Bruce Aitken and Mr Phillip Clarke, are the winners of the 1998 Sir Ian McLennan Achievement for Industry Award. Dr Augustin leads a larger team whose discoveries over the past ten years have generated tens of millions of dollars for the dairy industry.

Prestigious Award Recognises Breakthrough in Malaria Research

A pioneer in molecular genetics of malaria has been awarded the 1998 Glaxo Wellcome Australia Medal for breakthrough research applicable to human health.

The winner, Dr. Alan F. Cowman, is Principal Research Fellow at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, where the award winning research has been carried out over the past 10 years. He is considered a world authority on drug resistance to malaria.

County Welcomes Wills Review Investment Recommendations

County Investment Management recently welcomed new proposals to Government aimed at facilitating greater private investment in Australia's burgeoning biotechnology industry.

The proposals are contained in a Discussion Document issued today by the Health and Medical Research Strategic Review, entitled "The Virtuous Cycle _ Working Together for Health and Medical Research". The Review, chaired by Mr. Peter Wills AM, was commissioned by the Federal Government to develop a new economic framework for health and medical research in Australia, and to make recommendations on improvements to current arrangements.

Trio Honoured with New Australian Science Award

A former Australian Ambassador to UNESCO, an American zoologist working in South Australia and a world renowned expert on membrane biophysics have been honoured for their outstanding contributions to science. Professor Ralph Slatyer, Dr. Pamela Parker and Professor Hans Coster are the first to be awarded an Australian National Commission for UNESCO Science Medallion.

FASTS Worry about ARC

Copy of the letter FASTS' President Peter Cullen sent to the Minister for Education in late November 1998.

Future of the Australian Research Council

The Council of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS) expressed deep concern at its Annual Council meeting in Canberra last week about rumoured changes to the ARC.

More FASTS on ARC Grants

Australia's peak council for scientists and technologists has welcomed a slight increase in the proportion of successful applications for research grants from the Australian Research Council, from 19.6 per cent to 20.7 per cent. Professor Peter Cullen, President of the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies (FASTS), also welcomed the Government's commitment to the knowledge-based economy.

Official Opening of Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network

The Saskatchewan Nutraceutical Network officially opened its doors in October. SNN, the first organisation of this type in Canada to be fully funded, has received $1 million in funding support from the Canada-Saskatchewan Agri-Food Innovation Fund. The Centre has been in operation since 1997 and has received interim support from Ag-West Biotech and Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food. Its mandate is to lead the development and support the growth of an economically viable nutraceutical and functional food industry in the province.

New Biotechnology Website and Poster

BioResearch Ireland (BRI) has launched a new internet site, BioZone, aimed at informing schools and the public on the growing importance of biotechnology to our economy, environment and health. The site is located at

New Director for National Food Biotechnology Centre

Dr. Gerald Fitzgerald, Associate Professor at UCC's Department of Microbiology and Food Science & Technology, has been appointed Director of BioResearch Ireland's (BRI) National Food Biotechnology Centre, also at UCC. Outgoing Director, Prof. Charles Daly, is standing down to take up the dual positions of Professor of Food Science and Technology (an Allied Irish Banks sponsored chair at UCC) and Dean of the Faculty of Food Science and Technology.

Bioethics Issues Take Centre Stage at EuropaBio '98

To share the US perspective of the biotechnology industry and to enhance collaboration with EuropaBio, BIO participated in EuropaBio '98, held in Brussels, Belgium, October 27-30. More than 650 representatives from the industry, universities and government met to discuss the latest in science, bioethics, technology transfer and regional development models.

Australians to Benefit from World-Class Medicines Research Unit

A NEW world-class medicines research unit was recently dedicated at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney by visiting Chairman of Glaxo Wellcome plc, UK Sir Richard Sykes and the The Hon. Dr. Andrew Refshauge MP, Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and Aboriginal Affairs.

What Does a Phase I Clinical Trial Unit Do?

In order to turn a drug discovery into a medicine that is safe and effective in treating disease, a long and costly process of trials and testing must be undertaken. On average it takes 8-12 years and $500 million to bring one new medicine to the market. Once a potential drug candidate is identified and studied in test tubes and in animal models, it moves into the four phases of clinical trials.

IMS Health Releases Five Year Forecast of Global Pharmaceutical Growth

IMS HEALTH (NYSE:RX) expects the global pharmaceutical market to grow at 7.8 percent compound average annual rate during the next five years, reaching $406 billion in 2002. The compound growth rate in North America is expected to be 9.8 percent, higher than the global average. At year-end 1998, the value of the global pharmaceutical market at manufacturers' selling prices is projected to total $301 billion. IMS HEALTH is the world's leading provider of information solutions to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

New Product Launches

New product launches are a key driver of pharmaceutical industry growth. Notable launches from the top global pharmaceutical companies include Evista (Lilly) in osteoporosis; Viagra (Pfizer) for erectile dysfunction; Lipitor (Parke Davis/Warner Lambert/Pfizer), a lipid-lowering agent; Singulair (Merck & Co), the oral antiasthmatic; Epivir-HBV (Glaxo Wellcome), the first anti-viral hepatitis B; Zeloda (Roche), breast cancer therapy; Plavix (Sanofi/BMS), a platelet antiaggregant; and Embrel (Wyeth-Ayers), a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Regional Pharmaceutical Market Growth

During the next five years, the fastest growing regions are expected to be North America, the Middle East, Australasia and Southeast Asia, including China. Japan and Western Europe pharmaceutical markets are expected to grow at rates slower than the global average. Growth in the Japanese market will continue to be constrained by economic pressures in the first half of the period under review, but will improve in the second half.

Therapeutic Classes

Cardiovasculars remain the leading therapeutic group in absolute size, for the combined developed markets of Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan the United Kingdom and the United States. In these ten developed countries, cardiovascular drugs represent 13.5 percent of the total pharmaceutical market in 1998. Alimentary Tract and Metabolism represent the second- highest market share at 10.5 percent, and Central Nervous System products are in third position with a 9.9 percent share of the pharmaceutical market in developed countries.

Next Science 2000 Moves to First Quarter 2000 And To New Venue

Science 2000 which is Australia's largest scientific and laboratory exhibition, will be held from the 21st/23rd March 2000 at the Rosehill Gardens Function Centre in Sydney. The event was originally scheduled for September 1999, but has been moved to March 2000.

Applying for R&D Assistance - It's Not as Hard as You Think

"We understand that in business, time is money," said Olga Sawtell, of the Industry Research and Development Board speaking recently at an industry discussion group in Sydney. "Especially if you're running a small business, you're too busy making ends meet to spend much time of paperwork," she added.

Population and Environment Research Fund

Almost every Australian has an opinion on this subject, but these opinions are very rarely backed by solid information from a wide range of scientific disciplines. The Australian Academy of Science wants the debate about population and the environment to be based on fact, not emotion. To support this goal, we have established the Population and Environment Research Fund.

Business Development Directory & 1999 Membership Directory On The Way

The 150 page print version of BIO's new Business Development Directory, produced in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Institute for Biotechnology. The directory, also available online at (, is a comprehensive desktop reference of business development personnel at more than 1,500 biotechnology companies worldwide.

Master of Arts in Science and Technology Studies

Modern science and technology are critical in shaping our social, cultural and natural environments, and crucial to industrial development and the generation of wealth. They create and destroy jobs. They help us ensure high standards of health and safety, and yet often form a direct threat to human and environmental health. Despite this centrality of techno-science to our lives, few of us understand it, and few university courses seriously tackle its nature and influence.

Membrane Technology in Food and Bioprocessing

An intensive two day seminar on the fundamentals and recent developments of Ultrafiltration in the Food and Bioprocessing Industries with Special Guest Presenter - Dr. Munir Cheryan of the University of Illinois, USA.

First Australian Consensus Conference - Gene Technology in the Food Chain

March 10-12 1999

For three days in March 1999, ordinary citizens and leading experts will come together at the first Consensus Conference ever to be held in Australia. The conference will be held at Old Parliament House in Canberra to discuss Gene Technology in the Food Chain.

Prince Launches Public Debate on GM Crops

In the first online forum on his official website, the Prince of Wales was cited as inviting responses as to whether genetically-modified food are needed, noting that mixing genetic material from species that cannot breed naturally "takes us into areas that should be left to God. We should not be meddling with the building blocks of life in this way."

National Science Week May 1-9, 1999

National Science Week is Australia's only nation-wide celebration of science that involves people of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

First State Second Best in Biotech: Report

New South Wales falls behind other states and overseas countries when it comes to capturing opportunities presented by biotechnology, according to a report by the NSW Innovation Council.

Political Solution on Gene Technology Labelling - False Comfort Statement by Executive Director of the Australian Food Council, Mr Mitchell H.Hooke

"Despite good intentions, consumers and industry have not been well served by the nation's Health Minister's decision today instructing ANZFA to draft an amendment to the Standard (Food Produced from Gene Technology) that will require the mandatory labelling of all food products using gene technology - it is intended products will be required by law to be labelled `does contain ...', `may contain...' and provision be made for the option `does not contain...'


Peptech Signs Agreement with Pfizer
AMRAD and Becton Dickinson form Strategic Alliance
Optiscan Releases World's First Endomicroscope

Biogen, Bristol-Myers, Monsanto Win Award for Innovation
Zeneca Pharmaceuticals Australia
APMA has Moved

Covering Australian Biotechnology Stocks - compiled by M.J. Playne



From: David Pye
28 January, 1999


Extension of Term for Pharmaceutical Patents
Court Decision Finds Against Medical Treatment
India to Join Paris Convention and Patent Cooperation Treaty
South Africa To Join Patent Cooperation Treaty
European Biotechnology Directive Passed
New Zealand Modifies Practice Re Medical Treatment
Australian Patent Office Fee Reductions
PCT and US Fee Reductions

Malaysian company unveils new veterinary vaccines
Important AIDS Congress to be held in Malaysia
Sixth Congress of the Asian Society of Transplantation
33rd Malaysia-Singapore Congress of Medicine

National Biotechnology Seminar
Brief News on Indonesian Oil Palm Society (IOPS/MAKSI)



Capacity Building and Networking Activities in the following topics

New South Wales


Business Support Centres

JETRO Services: Essential Support for Business People Visiting Japan

Fostering International Relationships in Biotechnology
Australia-German Collaborative Opportunities
A Major Biotechnology Initiative Sponsored by the Department of Industry Science and Resources to be Project Managed By Ernst & Young (Melbourne)


Biosafety WebPages
Electronic Journal of Biotechnology
Access to the FAO site on the Internet
Visit Ag-West Biotech's Web Site
New York Biotech Association Website
Elsevier Website




ABA Office Bearers

Copyright 1998 Australian Biotechnology Association Ltd.


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