It’s time to get better patient and economic outcomes from our investment in medical research

It’s time to get better patient and economic outcomes from our investment in medical research

13th July, 2012

Australia is among the top countries in the world in biomedical research, but we have a poor record of converting this research into patient and economic outcomes for the country.

Australia’s peak body for medical research institutes has made five key recommendations on ways to improve the return on the government’s investment in medical research and build the bridge between our research success and commercial success.

The recommendations are outlined in a report released by the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes (AAMRI). The report, which looks at ways to improve the commercial translation of health and medical research, resulted from a roundtable of representatives from the research, commercialisation, venture capital and biotech sectors.

AAMRI President, Professor Julie Campbell, said it was time that Australia found better ways to capitalise on its strength in biomedical research for the benefit of the whole country.

“Australia produces 3% of the world’s medical research publications from just 1.1% of global expenditure. In stark contrast, we rank twentieth and account for less that 0.8% of the world’s triadic patents, a key international measure of commercialisation success”, Professor Campbell said.

“This represents hundreds to thousands of wasted inventions each year, and means as a nation we are missing out on the health and financial benefits of the government’s substantial investment in health and medical research.”

Commenting on AAMRI’s report, submitted to the Federal Government’s Strategic Review of Health and Medical Research, Professor Campbell said that Australia had a genuine opportunity to improve the commercial returns of its biomedical research.

“By better targeting government support programs and by facilitating, measuring and rewarding commercial success in the academic research environment, we can leverage commercial investment in medical research and make a real difference to patient outcomes and Australia’s biotech industry. That makes real sense for researchers, industry, government and the community.”

In its submission, Enhancing the commercialisation outcomes of health and medical research, AAMRI uncovers the barriers to commercialisation and proposes five key initiatives to put Australia on par with the best in the world:

  • Establish ‘proof-of-concept’ funds on up to ten health-research precincts
  • Consolidate and integrate the commercialisation expertise in Australia’s research institutions and hospitals into a small number of commercialisation arms
  • Create a further two seed funds based on the models of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund and Uniseed
  • Include and comprehensively evaluate metrics of commercial success in all National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant and fellowship schemes
  • Optimise regulation and government support programs.