Seattle prescribed

Written on the 17 June 2009

BRISBANE companies will now have greater opportunities to do business in Seattle after an alliance agreement between Brisbane Marketing and enterpriseSeattle, which looks promising for biotechnology, ICT, advanced manufacturing and creative industries.

A Brisbane clinical-stage drug development company has applauded the alliance as it reaffirms an already strong relationship which is continuing to grow.
Implicit Bioscience director Rose-Anne Kelso says the agreement will make working in Seattle easier and assist her company’s global focus.

“We already have a US office in Seattle and there’s a few reasons why we’re there – of course we need a US presence if we are to enter their drug market, but Seattle also has a big biotech focus,” says Kelso.
“The second reason is that there has been a long-standing relationship with Washington State, so in being a Queensland company we weren’t an unknown – this deal really cements that relationship.”

Two years ago Implicit Bioscience was awarded a contract with the US Department of Defence worth $16 million over a three year period, but Kelso says the contract has been extended.
Kelso believes the company has a small footprint but a business model that means it can react to the market, with just eight staff in Brisbane and four in the Seattle office.

“The way we do business is unique in the drug development market, because most drug developers go about focusing on single drugs, going through the various stages of development and through to the market,” she says.
“But what we are about is our team and looking for drugs that have gone to about phase II of trials but have for some reason failed, and we are about adding value.

“Our model is that after developing the drugs further we then find an exit strategy by passing them on to a large pharmaceutical company – one strategy is to sell patents.”
The company does not have any laboratories as it outsources all around the world and while the it has not yet developed any drugs to the point of selling patents, Kelso cites the US defence contract as a big success.
“And by having an office in Seattle it keeps us in touch with the rest of the world, which is really important as Australia is so isolated.”

Brisbane Marketing’s investment attraction director Daniel Havas says Brisbane will benefit from Seattle’s knowledge economy and he expects to secure a number of key foreign direct investment (FDI) projects within the first two years of the alliance.
“Opportunities for Brisbane companies to invest in the Seattle region will be diverse, from R&D collaboration, greenfield projects, joint ventures and creative partnerships,” says Havas.
“Knowledge-based sectors command talent, no matter where they are thriving in the world.

“The continued importance of the Seattle region as a source of global innovation, talent and creativity means Brisbane companies can benefit from their knowledge economy.

“In fact, on the night of the official signing of the alliance, two Seattle-based companies expressed interest in Brisbane’s business environment and our entrepreneurial economy. We are now working with both companies to help build Brisbane’s investment case.”


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