AusBiotech is celebrating International Clinical Trials (CT) Day today, 20 May, recognising Australia’s leadership and excellence in CTs and the important role it plays in Australia’s economy, healthcare and social fabric, with benefits far beyond helping develop new treatments.
Australia’s first-rate facilities and quality of medical research are internationally recognised. Commencing over 1,000 CT annually, they represent a $1 billion industry investment. Australia’s proximity to Asia, combined with our diverse population and robust regulations, brings a strong advantage in this competitive market.
Australia offers a world-class CT ecosystem, and AusBiotech has been promoting and advocating for more than a decade to keep it in its principal position.
Bristol Myers Squibb’s (BMS) recently commissioned research from Evaluate (2021) ‘Pathways to deliver harmonisation of clinical trial approvals in Australia’ offered insights into enhancing Australia’s attractiveness for CT even further, and the benefits this would garner, including: increased patient access, building local capacity, upskilling talent, economic growth through a relief to PBS and other parts of the health system, and direct revenue to the Australian industry. Introducing the suggested changes could deliver a return on investment of $5.80 for every dollar invested.
As one of the company’s top six countries for CT investment globally, Australia attracted $33 million of BMS’ investment in 2017. The same year, BMS partnered with over 100 local academic research institutes and support service organisations to conduct 65 clinical studies with nearly 1,300 Australian patients participating. This is a clear demonstration of the additionality offered through a thriving biotechnology ecosystem.
Acknowledged as a “golden” opportunity for CTs by Health Minister Greg Hunt, AusBiotech has been advocating for the development of a ‘national front door’ for CT. The BMS report also found this to be a clear action that would add a lot of value: “Multiple state-based online information systems and portals still exist, meaning that investigators and sponsors need to provide different data and forms across different jurisdictions. [This] adds to the complexity for those trying to establish new clinical trials. Harmonisation of these systems would support trial sponsors to maintain and build on their current activities.”
Actively participating in formal quorums and processes, AusBiotech sits on the Federal Government’s Clinical Trials Collaborative Forum which identifies issues, exchanges information and engages in collaborative problem solving, with a view to reducing duplication and improving the CT environment. AusBiotech has also engaged with the Clinical Trials Governance Framework which aims to improve the quality, efficiency and timeliness of CT by reducing duplication and increasing efficiency, cohesion and productivity across the CT sector.
Australia’s global leadership in CTs is promoted by AusBiotech at international speaking opportunities, such as at Biotech Showcase at JP Morgan, BioKorea, and BIO. Earlier this year, AusBiotech hosted a webcast during JP Morgan week, to demonstrate the value of Australia's CT and medical innovation advantages. Working in Australia offers a compelling opportunity for CT, and this webcast connected with international companies and showcased the country’s opportunities and capabilities that can be taken advantage of.
During this week’s AusMedtech 2021: reconnect and reimagine – AusBiotech’s premier medtech conference happening this week – industry leaders have discussed the barriers for conducting CTs, and provided insights and solutions to overcome these challenges.
Challenging and driving the sector forward, panels considered how technology advancement offering increased opportunities for hospitals and researchers to develop devices that meet patient needs and taking products to the global market, as well as the recent and swift changing CT landscape in response to COVID-19 - from telehealth to at-home diagnostics, from remote patient care to vaccines. These sessions are available to registered delegates on-demand for 30 more days.
International CT Day is celebrated around the world on or near 20 May to commemorate the day when James Lind commenced what is recognised as the first-ever randomised CT in scurvy in 1747, laying the foundations for modern clinical research.