Friday 13 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.
AAMRI’s submission and a fact sheet are available at www.aamri.org.