Research centre closure highlights innovation malaise

Johnson & Johnson’s only Australian research facility has been closed following a review of its R&D programs by the health and cosmetic multinational.

Johnson & Johnson’s only Australian research facility has been closed following a review of its R&D programs by the health and cosmetic multinational.

The company will either re-deploy or make redundant its 75 staff at the Sydney facility, which has been engaged in research on biotechnology research projects in human medicine.

The possibility of transferring the facility’s research projects and intellectual property to a proposed spin out company will also be explored.

The timing of the closure of the facility, which has been in operation since 1987, will sharpen scrutiny of the Cutler Innovation Review, which is due to be provided to the Government today before its release next week.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said the move was driven by the need to rationalise its international pharmaceutical R&D efforts in order to achieve greater efficiencies.

The closure further underlines the need for the shake-up to Australia’s R&D regime expected to be recommended by the Cutler review.

While the content of the review has been kept tightly under wraps, news reports have speculated the review may recommend the creation of new incentives to facilitate linkages between the R&D and corporate sectors.

The Government will also receive a report on the future of Australia’s textile, clothing and footwear industry today. The report is expected to recommend that further cuts to tariffs in the sector to 5% should be offset by an industry assistance package.

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