Therapeutic Development a key focus of the Roadmap
The Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA) welcomes the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap and its recommendations, in particular around the need to increase capacity to develop new therapies or medical devices.
Research by MTAA showed the medical technology (MedTech) industry in Australia employs over 19,000 highly skilled workers, across 500 companies, the majority of which are small to medium enterprises (SME).
The $65.9 million over four years in the Budget from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to invest in medical research in Australia along with the $500 million Biomedical Translation Fund established under the National Innovation and Science Agenda are important initiatives which reinforce the Government commitment to the MedTech industry.
Australia has a rich history of being at the forefront of MedTech:
- 1926 the world’s first electronic heart pacemaker is developed at Sydney’s Crown Street Women’s Hospital by Dr Mark Lidwell and Edgar Booth.
- 1978 the first person is implanted with a bionic ear developed by Professor Graeme Clark at the University of Melbourne.
- 2005 Dr Fiona Wood is named Australian of the Year for her work in burns treatment, including the development of spray-on skin for burns victims.
- Last year human trials for a bionic eye. Grey Innovation partnered with Monash University, the Alfred Hospital and MiniFAB to develop an innovative Bionic Eye implant to benefit up to 85 per cent of the clinically blind.
Innovation is at the forefront of better quality of life for patients, better health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs.
It is innovation that has seen implantable cardiac defibrillators battery life doubled from 5 to 10 years. Longer the battery life lowers the rate of replacement required and this reduces the risk of mortality from having to change devices more regularly. This innovation alone is estimated to save the Australian healthcare budget $900 million over 15 years.
Ian Burgess, Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Technology Association of Australia said:
“We know the regulatory environment could be improved to help fast track clinical trials and access of medical devices to Australia, that’s why it’s critical the recommendations of the Expert Review of Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation be progressed.
“The MedTech industry could be a key pillar of the Australian economy by creating jobs of the future.
“We’re pleased to represent such a highly skilled industry with over 52% of employees having a tertiary qualification, and 25% having a postgraduate qualification.
“Australia has many of the right attributes to grow a strong domestic MedTech industry – a significant health and medical research and manufacturing capability, quality health system, highly skilled workforce and access to the growing middle class markets of Asia.”