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Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles)
ISSN: 1036-7128
Vol. 9, No. 1, 1999
Bioline Code: au99001
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Australasian Biotechnology (backfiles), Vol. 9, No. 1, 1999

 en Editorial, News, Company News, Bio shares


Australasian Biotechnology,
Volume 9 Number 1, March/April 1999, pp. 2-20

Editorial, News, Company News, Bio shares

Code Number:AU99001


Journal in New Format for Year 2000 and Beyond

As part of the restructuring of the Australian Biotechnology Association and its new direction for the coming millenium, we have been considering the future role of this journal. Should it be solely a news journal, should it stay with its present 50:50 mix of science articles and news, should it be an industry journal for lobbying politicians, should it evolve into a magazine explaining the new technologies to the public, or should it cease to exist? A number of factors, such as staff time and cost, revenue and membership numbers all affect this decision. The following decision was taken, but it should be noted that it allows us a great deal of flexibility in its implementation during 1999.


Government Embraces Biotechnology in New Budget

The 1999-2000 Budget speech of 11th May 1999 by The Hon. Peter Costello, Federal Treasurer, announced major additional funding in health and medical research to be provided through the NHMRC. New funds of $M614 over six years are to be provided.

Parallel to this welcome initiative for medical biotechnology research are new initiatives in biotechnology.

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator

The Federal Government is to establish the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) to regulate the application of gene technology. The OGTR will regulate research in and applications of gene technology that are not covered by existing regulators.The OGTR will operate under powers to be conferred through an intergovernmental agreement and associated Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation.

Australians Seek Facts on Gene Technology

Australians are sending a strong message that they want more information about gene technology and food, according to a national survey conducted by CSIRO.

New research into consumer attitudes suggests most Australians are willing to try gene- modified foods provided they can see clear benefits.

California-Australia Biotech Partnering Conference

From Louise Batchelor - Austrade, San Francisco

Austrade have been very proactive in ensuring that there will be a strong presence from Australian companies at the California biopartnering conference this May.

The updated Program for the California-Australia Biotech Partnering Conference in San Diego is given below. On Day 1 we have arranged a compelling program of top speakers who will give their overview on finance, legal, partnering and commercialization issues facing bioscience companies today, and strategies to overcome them. Australia will be the focus of a special hour presentation, and as part of the BIOCOM breakfast panel on international opportunities. Australian biotechnology will very much be on the menu, thanks to the generous contribution of Florigene Limited. The rich, vibrant, purple colour of 1,000 Florigene Moonshadow flowers will grace the BIOCOM breakfast tables on May 12th.

Bio 99 - 16-20 May, Seattle, Washington

Bio 99 is the world's largest biotechnology conference, and provides important US exposure and international networking opportunities. Conference information is on

Net News - A Letter to Biz-Biotech

I would like to point out that the "GMO industry" is not against labelling. GIBiP (Green Industry Biotechnology Platform - an organisation representing 20 European companies active in plant biotechnology, supports labelling within the context of the Novel Food Regulation (258/97/EU) and the Council Regulation 1139/98, and support consumer choice. The industry position is that labelling is a food safety issue and that only those products should be labelled which contain foreign DNA or proteins.

Distinguished Medical Researcher Appointed to Key National Health Position

Federal Health and Aged Care Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge, recently announced the appointment of Professor John Mathews as Head of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) located in the Population Health Division of the Department of Health and Aged Care in Canberra.

Initiative to Develop Biotechnology Industries in North Queensland

The Parliamentary Secretary for Queensland's Department of State Development opened a workshop on developing a biotechnology industry in the region. The workshop was held on 16 March at the Australian Institute for Marine Science's Caper Ferguson laboratories near Townsville.

Dr Peter Murphy of AIMS marine bioproducts program said "This workshop is about creating knowledge-based industries for the twenty-first century in North Queensland. North Queensland's science expertise and the region's rich biodiversity can pave the way to development of biotechnology industries in the region. As a centre of biodiversity, particularly marine biodiversity, and with internationally recognised biotechnology research at AIMS and James Cook University, North Queensland is poised to attract biotechnology industries."

New Centre on Metals and Genetics Opens in Melbourne

The opening of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology at Deakin University in February establishes a major international research centre for the study of the effect of heavy metals on human health.

Headed up by Professor Julian Mercer, a world-renowned leader in the field of the biology of copper, the centre also paves the way for a new course in human genetics that will be offered by the Faculty of Science and Technology next year.

World Wide Genetics Research Projects Established in Australia

Glaxo Wellcome recently announced that it has signed agreements with three separate Australian research centres to collaborate in the company's world wide program for uncovering the genetic basis of disease.

Australia-European Commission Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee

The fourth meeting of the Joint Science and Technology Cooperation Committee (JSTCC), established under the S&T Agreement between Australia and the European Community (EC), was held in Canberra on 3 March 1999.

Professor Jorma Routti, Director-General for Science, Research and Development, led the European Commission delegation. Dr Paul Wellings, Head of the Science, Technology and Innovation Division, Department of Industry, Science and Tourism, led the Australian delegation.

Australia Leads the World in Fisheries Management

Federal Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister, Mark Vaile, recently launched the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) report, Fishery Status Reports 1998: Resource Assessments of Australian Commonwealth Fisheries, saying Australia continued to lead the world in fisheries management.

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

Moreland City Council Drops Genetically Engineered Food

Moreland City Council is set to become Victoria's first local government and Australia's second to oppose the use of genetically altered food. In its own services Council will work towards a service that is free of genetically altered food and encourage child care centres and other services to follow suit.

News from Malaysia

XXI IUFRO World Congress in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has been selected as the venue for the 21st IUFRO (International Union of Forestry Research Organizations) World Congress from August 7-12, 2000. The theme of this important congress is Forests and Society : The Role of Research and 2000-3000 participants are expected to enjoy the varied and stimulating programme of plenary, sub-plenary and specialist meetings. The congress will focus on five main sessions : sustainable management of natural resources, forests and society's needs, changes in environment and society, cultural diversity in forest management, and the global vision of forest and society.

Improved version of typhoid diagnostic test

Typhoid fever remains as an important public health problem in many tropical developing countries, exacerbated in recent times by the appearance of antibiotic-reistant strains. Malaysian Biodiagnostics Research Pty. Ltd. (MBDR), Malaysia's first biodiagnostic company has recently announced the availability of a new, more rapid version of the diagnostic test kit for typhoid fever, TyphiDot, which they developed and marketed several years ago.



Relenza Production Begins for Australian Winter

Australia passed another key milestone in the worldwide battle against the influenza virus today with the opening of the first manufacturing facility for the flu treatment, Relenza (zanamivir) at the Melbourne headquarters of Glaxo Wellcome Australia.

Relenza was recently recommended for approval by the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee for marketing in Australia, thus clearing the way for the treatment to be available on prescription throughout Australia during the coming winter.


Statement on FDA Advisory Committee Vote on Relenza7

Biota Holdings Limited has announced that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee has voted against recommending Relenza7 (zanamivir for inhalation) - a proposed new treatment for influenza type A and B - for FDA approval at this time. Relenza was invented in Australia in the 1980s and licensed to Glaxo Wellcome by Biota.


Virax Announces Research Agreement with Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research

Virax has announced the signing of a Research Agreement with Macfarlane Burnet Centre for Medical Research. The agreement supports further research in monkeys into the application of the Company's Co-X-GeneTM technology for the treatment of HIV.

Monsanto Welcomes ANZFA Review

Monsanto Australia Limited recently welcomed the review of their application for the use of food products from cotton and soybean crops improved through the application of biotechnology.


The New DSM Fine Chemicals

As from January 1 1999 onwards, the new DSM Fine Chemicals group will operate under the following three trade names:

DSM Biologics [formerly Gist-brocades/Bio-Intermediair]

DSM Fine Chemicals [formerly DSM Chemie Linz and DSM Andeno (pharma-intermediates)]

DSM Minera [formerly DSM Andeno (iodine/quinine)]

DSM Fine Chemicals' strategy can be characterized as `accelerated expansion", meaning that production capacity and sales should grow at a much higher rate than the market. This growth objective is to be realized through autonomous growth as well as through acquisions or alliances.


Nobel Prize Winner Appointed to BresaGen Advisory Board

Australian Nobel Prize winner and 1997 Australian of the Year, Professor Peter Doherty, has been appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of Adelaide Biotechnology company, BresaGen Limited.


Tree Genes to be Patented for ForBio

ForBio, a specialist forest biotechnology company, is patenting several key genes derived from trees. These are thought to be the first tree genes patented in Australia from a gene discovery project.


AMRAD and Ludwig Institute Collaborate with Baxter Healthcare Corporation to Develop New Heart Therapy

AMRAD Corporation Limited (ASX:AML) and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, have announced that rights to their respectively owned VEGF-B (vascular endothelial growth factor B) protein patents and technology have been licensed for collaborative development with Baxter Healthcare Corporation. AMRAD will be working with Baxter to investigate the VEGF-B protein as a possible new approach to treating patients with ischaemic heart disease, the leading cause of death in developed countries.

BioVentures Australia Commences Operations

$10 million commitment for technology opportunities

Start-up Australia and research Corporation Technologies (RCT) announced recently the commencement of a joint venture, BioVentures Australia Pty Limited ("BioVentures Australia"), which will invest in life science and medical technologies originating in Australia.

Genesis Expands Asthma Research

Auckland's Genesis Research and Development has announced that it has entered into a long-term research collaboration with Stanford Rook Holdings, a London-based biopharmaceutical company. The collaboration centres on using Mycobacterium vaccae technology to develop an asthma vaccine.

Bio shares

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

Copyright 1999 Australian Biotechnology Association Ltd.


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