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Western Australia to trial clinical trials technology

14 June, 2006

WA is primed to trial groundbreaking, world-first technology that could fast-track the release of new medical treatments by dramatically improving the efficiency of clinical trials.

University of WA (UWA) Professor Lyle Palmer of the Laboratory for Genetic Epidemiology at The Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) recently signed an agreement with US-company XBio Systems to help implement a software system for clinical trials of new treatments for diseases such as asthma, cancer and diabetes.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Chicago while a group of WA science, business and government leaders, including Premier Alan Carpenter, attended BIO 2006. The agreement was witnessed by executives from WAIMR, UWA, and the State Government.

Professor Palmer said the partnership could have a major impact on the clinical trials industry, as initial trials of the multi million dollar Integrated Drug Development Management Platform had been enormously successful.

“The process management software has proved to dramatically cut down on the delays caused by paperwork involved in clinical trials of new drugs, while incorporating foolproof safeguards that will improve safety and regulatory compliance,” Professor Palmer said.

“This new technology has also been shown to be able to reduce the cost of clinical trials by up to 40 per cent.”

Professor Palmer said that the level of improved efficiency could have enormous ramifications for the industry, and for WA.

“Conducting phase three clinical trials can cost around $US200 million, so any technology that can slash the prohibitive expenses will help get newer, better treatments into the marketplace faster,” he said.

“The fact that WA will be at the forefront of such a revolution is very exciting and we believe it will benefit both industry and the general community through increased access to clinical trials and improved health.”

WAIMR Director Professor Peter Klinken said the move also represented another major step forward in establishing a world-class clinical trials facility in WA.

“This technology will be extremely attractive to major pharmaceutical companies who already see this State as a very viable option for investment in clinical trials due to our efficiency,” he said.

Investment in medical research in WA currently stands at $35 million a year. Pharmaceutical industry sponsored clinical trials currently contribute around $15 million annually to the State’s economy.

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