Employment in Biotechnology
DISCIPLINE OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

Molecular Sciences Bldg 21, James Cook University,
Townsville, 4811, Queensland, Australia
Telephone: 61-7-4781 6265 Fax:  61-7-4781 6078


KEY FACTS ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY:
  • Pharmaceutics is Australia's second largest export earner (Queensland Government Department of Innovation).
  • Biotechnology is one of Australia's fastest growing industries (Australian Federal Goverment).
  • Australia has 0.3% of the world's population but produces 2.5% of global medical research (Biotechnology Australia) and 2.9% of the world's scientific publication (Brendan Nelson, MP).
  • Annual revenue in biotech in Australia was around $2 billion for 2002-2003, with over $500 million raised in 20003 through IPOs and follow-on capital raisings (Hopper and Thorburn, 2003).
  • The ASX records $23.4 billion capitalisation in the Healthcare and Biotech sector (Bioshares).
  • The Australian government has pledged over $1 billion over the next seven years to bring biotech research discoveries to market (Nature, 3 June, 2004).
  • Australia acccounts for 67% of public biotech revenues in the Asia-Pacific region (Ernst and Young 2003 Beyond Borders Report).
  • In its global biotech census, Ernst and Young ranks Australia as the number one biotech provider in the Asia-Pacific and 6th world wide (2003 Beyond Borders Report).
  • Australia has 370 "core" biotech companies, of which over 40 are listed (Hopper and Thorburn, 2003). There are a further 450 diversified biotech companies of which over 50 are listed (AusBiotech).
  • Australia's "core" biotech companies employ more than 8000 staff.
  • 43% of Australian core biotech companies are in human therapeutics, 16% are in argicultural biotech and 15% are in diagnostics (Hopper and Thorburn, 2003).
  • Australia ranks third for cost competitiveness of conducting clinical trials after the Netherlands and Canada (KPMG Competitive Alternatives International report 2004).
  • Australia ranks second (after Canada) for biomedical R&D cost competitiveness - ahead of the USA, UK and Germany.
  • The three states with the highest number of biotech companies in Australia are Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland (AusBiotech).
AUSTRALIA'S TOP TEN BIOTECH COMPANIES
 Company Capitalisation ($ million)
CSL 3,991
Novogen 612
Peptech 256
Metabolic Pharmaceuticals 179
Genetic Technologies 129
pSiVida 121
Progen Industries 117
Amrad 92
Starpharma 88
Epitan 83

CAREER PLANNER:

HIGHER DEGREE PREREQUISITES
PhD
        Most senior academic and commercial positions in biotechnology and biomedical sciences require a PhD. Course consists of a 3-4 year apprenticeship in an advanced training laboratory under the direct supervision of a mentor. Assessment is by external marking of a thesis, which must reach the standard of "making a significant contribution to knowledge in the field". Under normal circumstances, entry requires a high class of Honours degree - usually H1, as well as successful application for a research stipend.

Masters
        As a generalisation Masters by Research in biotechnology and biomedical sciences are attempted either because of limited success in a Ph.D. program, in order to gain some particular technical skill in another laboratory (often attempted by overseas graduates to "naturalise" their qualifications following immigration), or to gain candidature for a Ph.D. program in the absence of an Honours degree. Requires an appropriate undergraduate degree.

THE ROLE OF HONOURS
        Honours is a fourth year of the undergraduate degree and the majority of the year is spent in apprenticeship in a training laboratory under the direct supervision of a mentor. In addition to being the normal prerequisite for a Ph.D., an honours year provides a highly employable skill set, work experience and robust references, dramatically improving candidates employability in the field.

THE ROLE OF BC3202 SPECIAL TOPICS
        Special Topics is a Year 3, second semester subject which is spent as an apprenticeship in a training laboratory under the supervision of a mentor. It provides intesnsive traiuning in laboratory skills, direct experience of working an a scientific laboratory, and an opportunity to contribute to reseacrh endeavors with the possibility of receiving acknowledgements or authorships when those projects are eventually published.

TABLE 1: LABORATORY SELECTION BY EMPLOYMENT AREA
EMPLOYMENT AREA Diagnostic applications
Gene expression
Medical genetics
Quantitative genetics
Tumour immunology
Autoimmnuity
Cellular immunology
Genetic Immunology
Haematology
Immunochemistry
Immunogenetics
Infectious diseases
Pathology
Rheumatology and arthritis
Transplantation immunology
Cell interactions
Genetic engineering
Gene therapy
Trangenesis
Tumour immunology
Autoimmnuity
Cellular immunology
Dermatology
Infectious diseases
Cell neurochemistry
Cellular nervous system
Central nervous system
Memory and cognition
Neurosciences
Pharmacology
Gene expression
Genetic development
Molecular evolution
Gene expression
Gene therapy
Genetic development
Meiosis and Recombination
Molecular evolution
Oncology and carninogenesis
Gene expression
Molecular evolution
Quantitative genetics
Analytical biochemistry
Biotechnology
Enzymes
Gene expression
Enzyme technology
Biomaterials
Honours/ BC3202 Laboratory Medical Genomics Cellular Immunology Neurobiology Coral Genomics Drosophila Genetics Sociogenomics Biotechnology
Year 3 Recommended subjects BC3102 BC3102 BC3102 BC3101 BC3101 BC3101  

TABLE 2: BIOCHEMISTRY/MOLECULAR BIOLOGY/MOLECULAR GENETICS MAJOR AND PREREQUISITES
YEAR 3 YEAR 2 PREREQUISITES OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS
BC3101 Genes, genomes and Development  BC2023  
BC3102 Advanced Cell Biology BC2013
BC2024
 
BC3201 Biotechnology BC2013
BC2024
BC2023
 
BC3202 Special Topics BC2013
BC2024
BC2023
BC3102 and/or BC3101 (see Table 1)

TABLE 3: BIOCHEMISTRY/MOLECULAR BIOLOGY/MOLECULAR GENETICS YEAR 2
YEAR 2 YEAR 1 PREREQUISITES OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS
BC2013 Principles of Biochemistry  CH1001
CH1002
BM1000 or BZ1020 strongly recommended
BC2023 Molecular Biology  CH1001 BM1000 or BZ1020 strongly recommended
BC2024 Cell Regulation BC2013  

OTHER INFORMATION:
Read about oportunities in Australian biotechnology in AusTrade's "Innovation Australia", which features the Comparative Genomics Centre:


OTHER LINKS: Comparative Genomics Centre, James Cook University, Key words: Autoimmune diabetes, Type 1 diabetes mellitus, childhood diabetes, lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus, haemolytic anaemia, hemolytic anemia, Coombs' test, antinuclear antibodies, renal failure, glomerulonephritis, gastritis, type A gastritis, pernicious anemia.