International investment strong in Australian early phase trials

Overseas companies invest in two-thirds of all Australian clinical trials reviewed by Australia’s largest reviewer of human research, Bellberry, according to its Clinical Trial Activity Report (CTAR).

Bellberry reviews more than 40% of CTN (Clinical Trial Notification) trials in Australia and each year releases its CTAR on International Clinical Trials Day (20 May).

The data for the 2023 calendar year found that early phase clinical trials (first in human or Phase 1) involved investment from overseas companies (sponsors) with the top countries being the US, China, South Korea, the UK and Switzerland.

Bellberry’s CEO, Kylie Sproston, says the recent data shows that Australia is uniquely placed to attract significant global investment in clinical trials activity due to the high quality of its healthcare institutions and researchers.

“Continuing previous trends, Australia is a lead destination globally for First in Human and Phase 1 trials, with strong interest from overseas sponsors in the Australian clinical trial ecosystem,” said Ms Sproston.

“Less well recognised is the depth in Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials, totalling 28% of the portfolio.  Collectively, Australia can be a key partner for end-to-end delivery of clinical development of new health innovations.

“Other countries investing strongly in Australian clinical trials are France, Sweden, Taiwan, Germany and Canada. The data shows that we are a highly desirable destination for this skilled and complex work.”

Of the clinical trials reviewed by Bellberry in 2023, private sites conducted 89% of the research with 11% by public sites.

“This reflects the breadth and vibrancy of the privately based research sector including phase one units, hospitals, medical centres and research institutes,” said Ms Sproston.

More than a quarter of the clinical trials undertaken in 2023 were in oncology (27%) with other key areas of research including infectious diseases, neurology, dermatology, haematology, devices and social science (each within 5-10% of the total).

Download the 2023 Clinical Trial Activity Report

Bellberry is a national, not-for-profit organisation that provides streamlined scientific and ethical reviews of human research projects across Australia.  Its focus is on improving the welfare of human research participants and the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of medical research through its HREC reviews and philanthropic activities.

For media queries please contact alisonrogers@bellberry.com.au or on 0488 995 868.