When it comes to Australian biotech shares there is one in particular that stands head and shoulders above the rest. That is of course the $45 billion behemoth CSL Limited (ASX: CSL).

I believe CSL is one of the highest quality companies in Australia and is thoroughly deserving of a spot in investors’ portfolios.

But CSL isn’t the only biotech which I feel investors should be taking a look at. At the other end of the market there are some fledgling biotech shares with potentially bright futures ahead of them. Here’s why they are on my watch list:

Bionomics Ltd (ASX: BNO)

I’m very optimistic about Bionomics’ BNC210 drug for the treatment of anxiety. Recent phase II trial results were promising in outperforming the current standard of care Ativan. Pleasingly BNC210 is just one of a number of drugs that Bionomics has in its pipeline. In partnership with US pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co, the company aims to bring new treatments to patients suffering from chronic pain and memory impairment. These include those with ADHD, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease and Schizophrenia.

LBT Innovations Limited (ASX: LBT)

LBT Innovations recently announced that its Automated Plate Assessment System (APAS) has been granted approval by the US Food and Drug Administration as a Class II medical device. APAS is a revolutionary artificial intelligence technology for the automated imaging, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of growth on microbiology culture plates following incubation. Ultimately this enables the rapid diagnosis and reporting of infectious diseases to a more accurate level than a team of microbiologists, according to research published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Viralytics Ltd. (ASX: VLA)

Imagine taking that pesky common cold virus and using it to fight both melanoma and non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. Well that’s exactly what Viralytics has done. CAVATAK is a novel cancer immunotherapy based on a proprietary cold virus that has been shown to preferentially infect and attack cancer cells by enhancing the body’s own defences. Although it is still early days, it is pleasing to see that so far trials have produced positive results. Should CAVATAK make it to market, analysts at Roth Capital estimate that it could command annual sales in the region of US$600 million a year.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.