$33m announced to support clinical trials

19 May 2017

Health Minister Greg Hunt has today announced $33 million to fund world-leading medical research trials and fellowships, supporting doctors and scientists to uncover the next breakthrough and improve the health of Australians.

MTPConnect welcomes the announcement as an important boost for the development and support of the clinical trial landscape in Australia.

The funding will provide doctors, nurses and medical researchers with necessary tools to test their research in a clinical environment while safely speeding up the process so research gains can be translated into better outcomes for patients sooner.

Four major initiatives have been announced to further strengthen Australia’s research and medical trials sector:

  1. $13 million allocations via the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) will be used to support research into a number of public health areas which contribute to the highest burden of disease, including the application of precision medicine
  2. $5 million will be provided to the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance to support their work in ensuring Australia maintains its world-leading clinical trial standards and continues to support the clinical trials sector
  3. $8 million allocations via the MRFF to support the next generation of Australian researchers – including a major boost to the number of National Health and Medical Research Council fellowship schemes
  4. $7 million over four years to help redesign State and Territory clinical trial operating systems to support greater collaboration and help to establish a state-based, one-stop shop to centralise, streamline and rationalise clinical trial administration

MTPConnect has recently completed an in-depth analysis of Australian clinical trial activity that demonstrates the significance of the local industry on the world stage. Among other conclusions, the research found that:

  • Up to 1,360 new clinical trials are started in Australia each year, with over half of these focused on the development and testing of new drugs and medical devices, and the remainder focused on improving the delivery of quality healthcare. The number of new trial starts has increased by c.5% per year since 2010.
  • Australia ranks 10th in the world for the total number of new trials per year (based on trials captured in the clinicaltrials.gov database), in terms of the globally competitive market for commercially sponsored drug and device trials, and an even more impressive 5th in the world for trials per capita.
  • Australian trials tend to be weighted towards particular areas of strength. Relative to its international peers, Australia has a high proportion of trials in complex therapeutic areas including oncology, respiratory medicine, and infectious diseases. Amongst trials that follow the typical four-phase system for pharmaceutical development, Australia attracts a larger proportion of the more complex Phase 1 trials than many of its international peers.
  • Clinical trial activity is broadly spread across Australia’s healthcare and medical research sector. Over 110 public and private hospitals act as clinical trial sites, as well and a variety of private clinics and dedicated private research sites. These are supported by dozens of universities and medical research institutes that provide infrastructure and capabilities for the sector. Many of these institutions are members of Australia’s 37 clinical trial networks, which collectively represent over 10,000 healthcare practitioners and researchers.