Destination APAC: Australia, Oncology, and Early Phase Clinical Trials

scientists in lab, Phase I clinical trials

When most people think of clinical research in the Asia-Pacific (APAC), India and China are likely the first to come to mind. With the increasing costs and complexities modern clinical trials face, the two have emerged as clinical trial powerhouses with vast resources and opportunities for ambitious researchers and CROs. Check out just a few key facts from our January 2019 blog post:

• Oncology trials in China grew 368% from 2010 to 2017, compared to 62% in the rest of the world. CAR-T immunotherapy, an innovative treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer, is rapidly developing with the help of more trials and dedicated treatment centers.
• For India, the number of clinical trials registered a year-over-year growth of 66.3% in 2017. The country has taken steps to modernize trials, shorten approval timelines, and increase overall transparency.

While these two countries deserve plenty of attention for their commendable contributions to improving public health, there’s another APAC member that shouldn’t be overlooked: Australia. The land down under has also made considerable strides toward saving lives through innovative clinical research, especially in oncology and early phase clinical trials. Take a look:

• The Australian drug sector invests more than $700 million each year into research and development, with about half that money going to Phase I studies.
• Phase I trial activity in Australia grew 17.2% from 2012 – 2015, compared to 1.8% globally.

For us at Medrio, we strive to support researchers worldwide – and want to recognize the opportunities that Australia offers. And with eClinical tools tailor-made for the needs of early phase clinical trials, we’re 100% behind researchers as they seek answers to research questions for the first time. For the last two years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with Linear Clinical Research, an Australian site that uses our eClinical tools to boost efficiency during Phase I – and this is only one small example. Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting developments happening in Australia and reasons why it’s such a great destination for early-phase research.

A massive new CAR-T cancer treatment center

In March 2019, the Australian government announced that it would invest $56 million into a new national cancer treatment center in Melbourne. This will give more patients access to CAR-T therapy, which is especially significant since:

• It will be the first center of its kind in the Southern hemisphere.
• According to the Australian Health Minister, Greg Hung, it will become one of the world’s leading facilities for the treatment and manufacturing of CAR-T therapy.
• While CAR-T therapy was first approved in Australia in December 2018, the cost of treatment was around half a million dollars. At this new center, it will likely be available for patients at little to no cost.

A hotspot for outsourcing early-phase clinical trials

Aside from this new cancer treatment center, Australia is also a growing destination for early-phase clinical research. With an expanding CRO market and more than 1,000 research projects from pharma to medical device to biotech, the country expects a CAGR of 12% this year. Why makes Australia such an attractive choice?

Cost: The Australian government offers CROs research and development cash rebates and other attractive tax incentives. According to cost comparison studies, conducting research in Australia can be up to 60% cheaper than the US.
Speed: The country’s highly efficient regulatory and ethical pathway typically takes just six weeks for approval.
Compliance: Australian regulatory standards are viewed with confidence by international regulatory authorities like the FDA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

In the new globalized world of clinical trials, one region’s research can lead to breakthroughs that save lives across the globe. Here at Medrio, we’re excited to learn about potentially revolutionary developments taking place in Australia for oncology and the opportunities that await early-phase researchers. As an eClinical provider that specializes in tools for early-phase research, we’ll keep backing researchers with cutting-edge eClinical tools that help them have the most productive trials of their careers. It’s through global collaboration and the power of technology that researchers can get answers to questions faster and ultimately make a larger contribution to the betterment of public health.