Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals

State of the sector

Victoria has one of the world's largest life science clusters composed of the medical technology (medtech), biotechnology (biotech) and pharmaceutical industries. It is home to a vibrant commercial sector, key R&D infrastructure and advanced manufacturing expertise making it a highly sought after destination by global pharmaceutical companies.

The State of the Sector Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals 2017 report shows the sector is growing rapidly. The sector employs more than 31,000 people and is made up of firms ranging in size from small start-ups to large Victorian exporters and global manufacturers.

Melbourne-based companies currently comprise 42% of all ASX-listed medtech and pharmaceutical firms, with a combined market capitalisation of just above $105 billion. In 2017 Victoria exported pharmaceutical products worth over $AU1.56 billion, an increase of over 70% since 2015.

With its companies connected to all major international markets, there is a lot of economic opportunity for Victorian companies to develop and manufacture new drugs, devices and digital health solutions that will shape the future of healthcare. 


A variety of information sources were used to produce the State of the Sector Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals 2017 Report, including the Centre for Transformative Innovation (CTI) report.

The CTI at Swinburne University produced the report which analyses the impact of the medtech and pharmaceuticals sector on the Victorian economy.

The CTI report utilised a novel new methodology, drawing on de-identified firm-level financial data from Business Activity Statements (BAS) collected by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and made available by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Victoria's strengths

The state's strengths include:

  • Significant capabilities and supporting infrastructure for neuroscience, cancer, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases and immunology research.
  • A strong global reputation in innovative and advanced manufacturing for pharmaceutical and medical technology products.
  • Proven expertise in drug candidate development across many stages of the drug discovery process.
  • A cost effective and rapid regulatory system for high quality clinical trials with access to leading clinical researchers and ethically-diverse participant recruitment pool. 

Sector strategy

The Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Sector Strategy is available on Business Victoria's Future Industries page.

Benefits of government support

Twenty years of sustained Victorian Government support for the sector has resulted in $39.6 billion in additional revenue and delivered more than a three-fold economic benefit on public investment. An executive summary of the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceutical Sector Impact Evaluation, conducted by ACIL Allen Consulting is available below.


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Page last updated: 24 September 2019