Lab+Life Scientist Jun/Jul 2017

Page 4


© Koeberich

Riding the research wave In May, Australia celebrated International Clinical

MacLeman and her team have conducted an

Trials Day. The day is celebrated around the world

in-depth analysis of Australian clinical trial

to commemorate the first ever clinical trial in 1747,

activity that demonstrates the significance of the

which was conducted by Scottish Physician Dr

local industry on the world stage. The findings are

James Lind for the treatment for scurvy.

expected to be released in June, well after this issue

Two hundred and seventy years later,

of Lab+Life Scientist goes to press. Keep an eye out

significant progress has been made, but we need

on our website for a detailed article on the report.

to keep working together to further improve

The uncertainty surrounding the future of

prevention, diagnosis and treatment. With some

R&D tax incentive has negatively affected industry

of the world’s brightest minds, Australia has been

confidence, but recent funding announcements

at the forefront of medical health and research.

have provided much-needed cheer. In May, Health

To get some insights on the current state of

Minister Greg Hunt announced a $33 million

the Australian clinical trials market, I recently

funding boost in medical research. Through the

spoke to Sue MacLeman, CEO of MTPConnect,

Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), $13

a not-for-profit growth centre for the medical

million will be used to support research into a

technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical

number of public health areas that contribute


(MTP) sectors. MacLeman is a strong believer

to the highest burden of disease, including the

Mansi Gandhi

in the Australian clinical trials market. Up to

application of precision medicine. The Australian

1360 new clinical trials are started in Australia

Clinical Trials Alliance received $5 million to

each year, with over half of these focused on the

support its work in ensuring Australia maintains

development and testing of new drugs and medical

its world-leading clinical trial standards and

devices, and the remainder focused on improving

continues to support the clinical trials sector. The

the delivery of quality health care, she said. The

MRFF will inject $8 million to support the next

industry supports over 7000 jobs.

generation of Australian researchers — including

Several factors such as cost-competitiveness,

a major boost to the number of National Health

high-quality data and fast study start-up times

and Medical Research Council fellowship schemes.

make Australia an attractive country to conduct

The government will also provide $7 million over

trials. “Our story is strong, we just need to

four years to help redesign state and territory

communicate it more effectively,” she said.

clinical trial operating systems.

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Mansi Gandhi |