Australia’s clinical trials: open for business


Australia has been amongst the globe’s lesser COVID-19-impacted countries, providing the opportunity to start and continue clinical trials and medical research through the pandemic.

With minor exceptions, overall, clinical trials are now largely progressing as they were pre-lockdown – even in Victoria, where there has been a second wave of cases. In some therapeutic areas the number of clinical trials being conducted has increased.

An AusBiotech policy statement has been developed together with AusBiotech’s Clinical Trials Advisory Group in support of clinical trial activity in Australia, highlighting how the country’s position, in combination with its well-developed clinical trials sector, gives Australia an opportunity to attract new medical research, technology and clinical trials.

Lorraine Chiroiu, CEO, AusBiotech, says, “AusBiotech recognises the importance of clinical trials in research and development and has been advocating for more than ten years for a more effective environment within Australia. We also promote Australia’s global leadership at international speaking opportunities, such as AusBiotech-led delegations to BIO and JPMorgan.”

Qualitative advice indicates that Australia continues to be a destination of choice, with high interest in Australian sites from sponsors who are looking at a 12-month delay in the US, and a six-month delay in many EU jurisdictions. With significant barriers to clinical trial in Europe and the US, and a growth market open in Asia, Australia is an attractive place to conduct clinical trials and, if harnessed, could enable Australia to be a global leader as it continues to proactively respond to COVID-19 challenges.

Using publicly-available country population data, and total COVID-19 case numbers from the Johns Hopkins dataset, the risk of clinical trials in Australia being disrupted due to exposure to a positive COVID-19 case is low when compared to many other key destinations, and so it is more likely that trials will continue.

In addition, international biotech companies are proactively approaching Australia to start their clinical trials – with domestic clinical research providers reporting that demand has increased, and in some cases doubled in the last six months.

Read the full policy statement here.