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Clinical trials provide $1.1bn to economy

20:00 EDT 21 Jun 2017 | Australian Life Scientist

Clinical trials accounted for roughly $1.1 billion in gross expenditure in 2015, and the annual expenditure could reach 2 billion in the next 10 years, according to MTPConnect.

MTPConnect — the Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Growth Centre — has released a new report: ‘Clinical Trials in Australia: the economic profile and competitive position of the sector’.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The Australian clinical trials sector is large and growing. Approximately 1360 new clinical trials were commenced in Australia in 2015, and this figure has been growing at roughly 5% per year since 2010, outpacing the US, the UK and the overall global average growth rate.
  • Investment in active clinical trials accounted for roughly $1.1 billion in gross expenditure in 2015. This includes approximately $930 million invested by industry sponsors, the large majority of which are international medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies that have chosen to invest in Australia.
  • The Australian clinical trials sector supported at least 6900 high skilled jobs in 2015, the large majority requiring tertiary education levels. The MTPConnect report highlights that the economic profile of the Australian clinical trial sector is significant, with the potential to surpass $2 billion of annual expenditure in the next 10 years, creating more than 6000 new high-skilled jobs.

Sue MacLeman, CEO of MTPConnect, said, “Australia has a strong reputation as a destination for clinical trials globally. The drivers of this success include the quality of our research infrastructure and output, our medical experts, financial incentives that support cost-competitiveness such as the R&D Tax Incentive, and our ability to offer a rapid trial start-up process due to reforms such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Clinical Trial Notification scheme and streamlined ethics approvals.”

Health Minister Greg Hunt congratulated MTPConnect on the report and said, “The government recognises the vital importance of clinical trials and research to deliver better health outcomes for Australians. Clinical trials have been behind many of Australia’s great medical research success stories, like the Gardasil vaccine and Cochlear implants, and continue to enhance Australia’s world-class medical research reputation.”

The government is investing $18 million under the first disbursements from the Medical Research Future Fund to support new activity and reinforce the important role of clinical trial networks, said Hunt. This is in addition to the more than $70 million awarded on average each year for new clinical trials by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The Australian Government is also working with states and territories under a $7 million initiative to further streamline trial operations making it easier for participants, investigators and sponsors to carry out this important work.

The report also identifies a number of priority areas for the future that will support the growth of the sector and will strengthen Australia’s competitive position. These include:

  • optimising the efficiency of the conduct of clinical trials by continuing the reform agenda and building on the success of existing initiatives;
  • enhancing patient recruitment;
  • improving Australia’s capabilities in trials involving novel trial design, and better integrating translational medicine into trials;
  • increasing transparency through sector metrics and systematically tracking key performance indicators.

Produced in collaboration with L.E.K Consulting and funded by the Australian Government under the Industry Growth Centre Initiative, the report includes input from a range of sector participants and stakeholders. While previous reports on the activity and economic profile of clinical trials have focused on subsegments of the sector, MTPConnect’s report provides a holistic and comprehensive overview of clinical trials in Australia, including investigative and observational trials, trials conducted in public and private settings, and trials sponsored by both industry and non-industry sponsors.

Original Article: Clinical trials provide $1.1bn to economy

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