A successful biotech industry requires the collaboration of entrepreneurs, investors and researchers, and these three groups will gather together in Melbourne this week.

The International BioFest 2016 will be the largest-ever gathering in Australian life sciences, bringing together  for the first time three conferences representing different elements of the industry.

Combining IBS, AusBiotech and Australia BioTech Invest, the event is expected to attract over 2500 delegates from 40 countries, highlighting Melbourne as a globally significant biotech cluster.

"This conference represents the whole ecosystem of life sciences," says Glenn Cross, chief operating officer of industry group AusBiotech.

"The hope is that the collaboration between researchers and the business relationships and investment opportunities which will come out of the event will be an added boost for our industry."

"It is definitely a case of one plus plus plus equal ten, because the sum of the parts is much greater than individual parts on their own."

While the biotech industry is global, driven by cross border investment and research collaboration, Melbourne has developed as a major biotech centre over the last two decades, and is now home to more than 120 biotech companies and several hundred medical device firms.

The presence of CSL Ltd, a world class biotherapy industry leader and one of the event sponsors, along with respected research institutes such as the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have been crucial to the development of the industry, as has the support of the Victorian State Government.

"For two decades now, successive Victorian Governments across both political persuasions have endorsed and supported life sciences," says Glenn Cross.

"It makes such a huge difference for the industry to know that when the Government changes, then the policy remains the same and they can continue secure in the knowledge that the support is ongoing."

CSL and leading institutions such as the Royal Melbourne Hospital have both been in existence for a century, creating a solid base around which the industry can develop.

"We have had this ecosystem in Melbourne for such a long time, and you just can't replicate that," says Cross.

Melbourne, he says, has gained such momentum in the last two decades that it is now in the global top ten life science clusters.

"The top one to three would be in the US and the UK, but we would certainly come in at six or seven, and this is internationally recognised," says Cross.

The growth of Melbourne's status, and the increasingly global nature of the industry, has meant that any "brain drain" of talent has been stemmed, and now reversed as the city's life sciences sector has begun to attract talent from overseas.

"We are seeing some very capable people coming to run some of our companies and the investment community is becoming more sophisticated," says Cross.

"What we do really well is the research. We have world class medical research institutes and a world class health care system and when you put those together you are going to have a world class life sciences sector."