Strength in clinical trials set to grow with funding boost


Australia’s world-class clinical trial capabilities are set to grow, with a $33 million funding boost announced by health minister Greg Hunt on International Clinical Trials Day.

The Minister’s Office said the funding aims to speed the clinical trial process while maintaining safety; improve processes for sponsors and navigators; and produce better and more efficient outcomes for patients.

Each year around 1,000 new clinical trials commence in Australia by pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, which represents AU$1 billion investment. The most recent figures show record numbers of trials with 1,360 trials commenced in 2015 (ANZCTR).

Australia’s world-class clinical trial industry is characterised by quality medical research infrastructure, a skilled workforce, an excellent healthcare system, efficient regulatory pathways and intellectual property protection. Clinical trials have an important role to play in Australia’s economy, healthcare and social fabric by providing early access to unapproved treatments, generating valuable economic activity and creating high-level Australian jobs in science and research.

The funding boost comprises:  

  • $21 million - $13 million, focusing on clinical trials in areas with the highest burden of disease and $8 million to assist the next generation of Australian researchers - the first disbursements through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF),
  • $7 million over four years to redesign clinical trial operating systems in Australia’s states and territories; and
  • $5 million to the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA), to help maintain Australia’s world-leading clinical trial standards.

The funding was announced at Clinical Trials 2017: National Tribute and Awards Ceremony, organised by ACTA with support from AusBiotech, Medicines Australia and MTP Connect, to coincide with International Clinical Trials Day.