Sector invited to support national strategy for non-animal research models


Australia’s life science ecosystem is invited to join AusBiotech in supporting Australian Ethical’s statement supporting non-animal research models as and call on the government to implement a national strategy.

The initiative is led by superannuation fund manager Australian Ethical, and aims to gather buy-in from across the sector to urge the Australian Government to implement five recommendations as part of a national strategy focussed on accelerating the development, validation and commercialisation of non-animal research models in Australia.

The statement noted, “The next 15 years will see an increase in the use of non-animal models across all stages of the medical product development process and growth of the non-animal testing market.  

“The CSIRO’s 2023 report, ‘Non-animal models: A strategy for maturing Australia’s medical product development capabilities’, found that this period will provide unique and important opportunities for Australia if harnessed responsibly.”

The statement authors, and those supporting the pledge, are calling on the Australian Government (in co-ordination with State and Territory Governments where relevant) to implement the following five recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: Establish a national centre or consortium to advance Australian non-animal model capabilities.
  • Recommendation 2: Provide dedicated funding towards the development, validation and commercialisation of non-animal research models.
  • Recommendation 3: Develop national data collection standards on the use of animals in scientific research, teaching and testing.
  • Recommendation 4: Improve regulatory processes and industry guidance to enable acceptance of non-animal model data where the data is strong enough to demonstrate efficacy and safety.
  • Recommendation 5: Develop a national biobanking and tissue collection network.

The global non-animal testing market, valued at $1.11 billion US in 2019, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4 percent during 2019-25. The size of the global organoid market in 2022 was $1.62 billion and is expected to reach $30.91 billion by 2040, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 17.4 percent. This market is estimated to result in $1.28 billion in revenue and 4,200 jobs for Australia by 2040.

Australia has comparative global strengths in the development of some non-animal models. Between 2018 and 2023, Australia’s share of non-animal model publications was above 3 percent and ranked in the top 10 globally for specific organ system-model type combinations. Australia also possesses key foundational capabilities, including existing infrastructure, high-throughput screening capabilities, and the internationally-recognised capability and capacity for induced pluripotent stem cell generation, a key input for non-animal model development.

However, currently, the development, validation and commercialisation of non-animal models in Australia is being held back by a lack of a nationally coordinated effort and therefore investments.

Find out about the non-animal research models statement and become a signatory here.

Read the September 2023 Australasian Biotechnology journal article The future of drug discovery using next-generation technologies by Tessara Therapeutics CEO Dr Christos Papadimitriou here (page 13), as he discusses non-animal model alternatives for researchers and biotech companies in pre-clinical development.